September was a month of travel … I left home on August 31; my itinerary included places, friends, family and the Columbia Basin Basketry Guild – Tidal Twining Retreat. September 26 and 6000+ miles later, I made it home to find Billy Owens and my husband grilling steaks. Billy taught for my guild the next day. That in a nutshell was the whirlwind of my September. I wasn’t sure how much of my adventure I’d share with all of you. After sorting through pictures, I wanted to share everything, but when I started writing the blog it quickly got wordy and long. So I put it on the backburner. Today I decided to post lots of pictures and a few words about my adventure.
An Exercise in Creativity
Last year, ten members of my local basket weaving guild participated in the Mystery Basket Project. It’s a great way to encourage creativity. We had several months to weave our project, and I am not exaggerating when I say I stared at the contents of my bag for months before I had my first idea!
In a nutshell here’s how it works:
Participants will be given a number when they sign up. Then they will go through their basket, craft and art supplies and put 10 items in a paper grocery bag. This bag is sealed, labeled with the participant’s number and given to the organizer.
Broomcorn, broomsticks, turkey wing whisk brooms, hearth brooms, kitchen brooms, angel whisk brooms, broomstick cake and more all in a new book by basket maker, gourd artist and broom maker Karen Hobbs. “Swept Away, the Vanishing Art of Broom Making” is scheduled to be released this December (2017). Read more
Now cutting and tucking may not be your favorite part of weaving a basket, but you really should put ‘Camp Tuck’ on your weaving event bucket list. Land of Lincoln Basketweavers Association (LLBWA) hosts ‘Camp Tuck’ each September in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois.
Winona, Minnesota is located in eastern Minnesota, sandwiched between the Mississippi River and the river bluffs. It is a beautiful city. Weavin’ in Winona happens in a window lined conference room on the Winona State University Campus. A picturesque location and a great facility – and those are just the first impressions of a wonderful basket weaving event!
Three days of beautiful baskets, weaving, laughing and hanging out together!
The Bluegrass Area Basketmakers Seminar, or ‘basket camp’ as many of the attendees call it, took place last week at the Cumberland Leadership Center in Jabez, Kentucky. For six days the place bustled with people weaving baskets, visiting and sometimes just sitting out on the porch in the rockers. It really is a place where we ‘eat, sleep and weave’ for a whole week. It was good.
Penny picked me up at the airport in Oakland and we drove down the coast to Pacific Grove and
Last week I went north to teach at Weavin’ Up North in Bemidji, Minnesota. When I left home, my woods looked like this:
a little green here and there.
six hours later I reached Lake Superior – cold, gray and SNOWING!
A few hours later I was in Bemidji. The clouds were clearing off when I stopped to get a picture of Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox. Read more
Stateline Friends Weaving Retreat 2017 – I’m home sorting through my carload of stuff and a camera full of pictures. For those of you who missed this event – I am sorry. Hopefully you can join us next year. For those of you who were able to attend – it was great fun wasn’t it!?
This event is always bustling with energy. People talking. People laughing. People weaving baskets. People teaching basketry. People shopping for basket supplies. I hope that the photo journal I am sharing with you today gives you a sense of the enthusiasm in the air. I was teaching so I couldn’t catch everything or everyone but I think you will enjoy the walk through.
-the 2017 North Carolina Basketmakers Association Convention. Thanks to Katie Lake and all of her volunteers, we all had four wonderful days full of baskets, weaving and visiting.
I was sad that the weather was NOT spring like, but it was wonderful to see old friends, meet a few new ones and see all the beautiful baskets being used, made and raffled as well as the amazing things in the exhibit room.
Home from another retreat -the Crossroads Weavers Guild’s 24th Annual Mid Winter Get Away in Okemos, Michigan. I was a little apprehensive about going through Chicago, under Lake Michigan and across Michigan in February – but the weather was amazing. With temperatures in the 60s, it was more like spring!
And the event wonderful. Basket classes and mini classes of all kinds kept the weaving room buzzing from early til late. Meals were catered in and delicious. And the weekend provided lots of opportunities to visit with new friends and old. With everything under one roof, there was no reason to leave the hotel and conference center until the event was over. If you have never attended the Mid Winter Get Away, put it on your bucket list! Read more
It’s the Christmas Season – so our guild just had it’s annual Christmas party. In addition to delicious food and planning our 2017 calendar, we also returned our traveling baskets to their owners. We always have so much fun with this project. Curious? Check out my post from last year about how the Traveling Basket Project works here. Here’s a peak at some of this year’s baskets: Read more
One of the things I love about blogging is talking to basket weavers and sharing those conversations with you. A few weeks back I had a chance to talk to Pam Feix; as with many of my basket friends, I don’t get to see her as often as I would like – so it was wonderful to talk to her and to hear her infectious giggle, unfortunately the telephone can’t convey her hugs!
In 1994, Pam retired from Preble County (Ohio) Department of Human Services and began her basket journey – and it’s all Dan’s fault. Dan, Pam’s husband, purchased antiques and restored them so the two of them would go ‘antique picking’. Pam would often find baskets. On one of their excursions Pam found a basket that reminded her of her Great Grandmother; she purchased it and told Dan she wanted to learn how to make a basket. Read more
I got home last night from teaching at two great guilds, the Central Pennsylvania Basketry Guild and Deer Creek Basket Guild in Maryland. We all had a great time!
First stop was Central Pennsylvania – where I taught four different baskets.
I haven’t been home much … it’s September
so far I’ve driven over 4000 miles. Read more
If you were watching the Super Bowl 50 in January (2016), you may have caught a glimpse of Jill. No she wasn’t in the stands or the half time show, she was the Texas basket weaver on the Reliant Energy commercial. She says it was only a few seconds – but hey those were prime time seconds Jill! (Curious? Links to the commercial are below.) Jill is an accomplished basket and gourd artist, so it’s no surprise she was chosen to be included in the commercial.
What a sweet studio -lots of natural lighting and spacious. I might even be a little jealous! It’s a great place to weave! Read more
Last week, Char Ciammaichella was driving through and stopped on her way to Weavin’ in Winona in Minnesota. It was so fun to have her stop by! But it was even more fun when she stopped here on her way home because she taught a class for my guild, Wisconsin Weave Basket Guild. She let us choose from three different baskets – we had so much fun and our baskets were beautiful! Char is a great teacher, I picked up at least one new tip to share!
Here’s a photo blog of our time with Char.
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.
I love talking to Pat Vogler, she is always busy doing something. Tending a huge garden and canning the produce, growing and drying herbs, making soap and tending to her chickens. When I first met Pat, she also had goats: Nubians for milking, Angoras for the fiber and African Boars for meat. Today, there are no goats in the pasture, Pat and her husband John, are a little busy with their business, Bittersweet Baskets and Homestead Handles. As their website says it is ‘more than a basket shop.
Shortly before the holidays, I was having a brown day – literally – I was dying pounds and pounds of reed dark brown. My phone rang, so I whipped off my dying gloves hoping to catch the caller before the answering machine. I was rewarded with Beth Hester’s sweet Kentucky voice. We had been trying to set up a time for us to talk, but her emails just kept bouncing back. So she called and my brown day was brightened with a pleasant conversation. Let me share a little about Beth and a few snippets from our conversation.
I had the delightful opportunity to interview Pati English, an accomplished basket maker, instructor and studio artist. She is also the author of the new book, “Award-Winning Basket Designs, Techniques and Patterns for All Levels”. While Pati, a former Elementary School Librarian, had always wanted to write a book, books don’t just happen overnight; there’s always a story. Pati’s story begins twenty-nine years ago, when her friend Desi called and asked if she wanted to ‘go make a basket tonight’. Pati’s children were toddlers and a creative evening with adults sounded fun; little did she know that saying ‘yes’ would change her life. Read more
I am so excited that Angie Longenecker Wagner from The Country Seat, Inc. agreed to let me interview her. This family business in Kempton, Pennsylvania was established in 1975 by Angie’s mother, Donna Longenecker, as a seat weaving company. It quickly became a supply store for seat weavers and basket weavers. Read more
Recently I interviewed Angie Wagner from The Country Seat, Inc. and I asked her to share a favorite basket story. I had intended to include it in the interview, but it is so sweet and so fitting for this season of gift giving I have decided to post it today – on its own and exactly as Angie shared it with me. Enjoy and Merry Christmas. Read more
I love hearing about what basket guilds are doing around the country. I often ask my students what their guild is weaving and how they are encouraging creativity. It’s always interesting, basket weavers are so creative! Years ago I heard about the traveling basket project, it sounded like so much fun I asked my local […]
East Troy Basketry Company is owned and operated by Jim and Eileen Mirsberger. It all started in 2000, when Eileen, a full-time nurse in a local hospital, was invited to a basket weaving retreat. You know how it is, one basket and you are hooked. Eileen was delighted to find a basket shop nearby, she needed to buy basket materials and when she found out the basket shop was for sale, she bought that too! Read more