Getting to know Pam Talsky
I’ve known Pam Talsky for several years, and while back I had a chance to ‘interview’ Pam. Pam’s excitement about basketry is contagious and her work is amazing – enjoy!
Pam was in Minocqua, Wisconsin, on a family vacation when she was introduced to basketry. Francis Whitfield was offering a pine needle class at the resort. Using local raw pine needles and raffia, participants made coaster, Pam made ‘one’ with a lip and a lid. She was hooked. She bought all the material she could from Francis and spent every spare moment of their remaining vacation coiling. That was 1994, only the beginning of Pam’s journey to become nationally known as a basket teacher and artist.
When Pam got home from her vacation she raided the library and poured over every basket book she could find. Robin Taylor Daugherty’s “Splint Woven Basketry”, was one of the books Pam worked through as she taught herself to weave reed baskets. She wove over 1000 baskets that first year!
And while she was reading and learning and weaving, Pam felt like she was living in a bubble. Then one day when she was ordering from NorEsta, they asked if she would be at the Lake Country Basket Guild Event in a few days. (Wait! Basket weavers? In my neighborhood? Basket classes?) Pam was able to attend visitor’s day and while shopping with her ‘Susan Coyle Peninsula Picnic Basket’, she talked to vendors and teachers and even Susan herself!
At another Lake Country Event, Pam had an opportunity take a class with Donna Carlson, one of the people who inspired and encouraged Pam to master coiling with pine needles and introduced her to cedar. Over the years Pam has often traveled to Alaska to harvest cedar, she loves working with cedar as well as the history of the northwest coast and its bond with cedar. And Pam does a wonderful slide show and presentation on traveling to Alaska and harvesting cedar – If she is teaching at your event, be sure to ask her to share it with you.
Pam will tell you that she loves all types of basket weaving, for years she wove and taught reed baskets as well as cedar and pine needle baskets. The form and function that drew her to basketry in 1994, still holds her to this art form. Today, Pam mostly teaches and exhibits pine needle basketry. Pam loves that there is no limit to the shapes she can create with pine needles – as you can see her work is beautiful.
For many years, Pam traveled extensively to teach. Today, Pam is cutting back on travel, spending more time in her studio both teaching and weaving and spending more time with her family.
This is just a peak at Pam, her story and her work. The National Basketry Organization featured Pam’s work and story in their Summer 2015, Quarterly Review. I encourage you to get a copy of that publication and read more about Pam. And be sure to check out Pam’s website www.pamtalsky.com
Thanks for letting me interview you Pam – I always love talking to you!
So happy to see Pam on your post. I knew her years ago before losing my husband in 2000 at which time time my basket weaving ended. She has always done beautiful baskets and she is a beautiful person as well. I would like her to know that Pat Dunning is alive and well and so happy to learn that she is doing so well in every respect. So happy for her. I have thought of her many times. I hope you might relate my best regards to her. I wish her many, many blessings
Hello Pat! So glad to be in touch. I miss you! Hope to get down to Ohio this spring and pay you a visit. Sending love!
I took a class from Pam at Whitewater Retreat in 2015. It was one of my the best experience. The basket was almost perfect. Pam is a wonderful teacher and very interesting person.
Great article and info about Pam!! She is a great teacher. Thanks Annetta, you are the best.
Thanks Annetta for sharing the story about Pam. I met Pam at the Central PA Basket Weavers Guild Spring Retreat in April 2015, and took one of her Cedar basket classes. I enjoyed the class and her teaching skills so much, that I knew then I wanted to take more classes with Pam. When I heard her story of going to Alaska and how they processed the cedar, she got my interest even more. And when I saw the pine needle baskets she brought along to sell, I immedialtely knew I wanted to pursue learning more about making the pine needle baskets. I had bought a kit years ago, and put it together not knowing if I had done it correct or not. When I heard that she was teaching at Stowe, I knew that one day I would have to venture to Vermont for the basketry festival. I did and I had 3 of Pam’s classes. I look forward to learning more about and weaving more pine needle baskets, and taking more classes from Pam.
Thank you all for the lovely comments. I am looking forward to get back to teaching at select events. The past couple of years have been very busy and full of changes and hard for everyone. Looking forward to life getting back to normal!