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
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
Today I am writing about the three types of dyes that work on reed and wood: direct, reactive and natural. Part I and II provided background for dyeing. If you haven’t read them you may find it helpful to start there. Dyeing Reed -Part I and Dyeing Reed Part II
And things change – while I was writing about types of dyes I realized that I should talk more about colorfastness and using mordants, fixatives and surfactants before I talk about dye.
I don’t claim to be an expert on dyeing, however over the years I have dyed a lot of stuff (basket related and not), I have used a lot of different dyes – natural, all purpose, direct and reactive, I have dyed natural (protein and cellulose) materials and synthetics, trial and error (failure and success) have been good teachers and I have also done a lot of research. Dyeing is a science; so while there are different ways to dye reed, understanding the science of dyeing will help you have better results.
Whether you use an all purpose dye, direct dye, reactive dye or even a natural dye, I hope you find this article helpful.
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
Here it is the first week of December with a dusting of snow on the ground … a good time to talk about Christmas baskets and ornaments. I’ll share my favorites and you share yours. All I need is the name of the basket or ornament and the designer; however if you have a picture and a link would be wonderful and I’ll be happy to publish them as well. Read more
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
Actually Dijon Mustard and Dark Brown. Today I am dyeing reed, earthy colors for my basket “Montana“, which I am teaching in October at the Association of Michigan Basket Weavers 2015 convention “Autumn Weavings”.