Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Northwest Basket Weavers Retreat

I'm home from a wonderful experience at the 30th Anniversary NW Basket Weavers Retreat! It was uplifting, humbling, frustrating fun and I experienced the sensation of pure joy while working on a woven lantern.
Pilgrim Firs is a lovely venue 
and we enjoyed a wide range of weather including a skiff of snow.
 I took three classes, each with a focus that could translate to a polymer clay or mixed media application. I was the only polymer clayer there but I found a familiar tool- there were a few pasta machines on site- weavers use the cutter attachments to make weaving strips.  The only toaster ovens were being used by the talented culinary staff in the kitchen of Pilgrim Firs.

The work rooms were infused with the beautiful fragrance of cedar and soaked sweetgrass. Tables were laden with coils of barks, rattan,  rushes, grasses, dried leaves and roots.

The talent of the basket weavers that were sharing techniques was breathtaking. Many of the weavers featured in the Lark publication of 500 baskets were present.
The warm welcome I received as a new basket maker as well as a new guild member was greatly appreciated. The ID badges we wore were colour coded to indicate teachers, mentors, and first timers. My yellow tag marked me as someone very likely to be lost in some capacity and members went out of their way to encourage and assist in workshops as well as giving directions to cabins along the circuitous and very muddy paths!

Sometimes words fail and I'll spill the contents of my camera to let you see ...

Rae Hunter's Wild Lamp Class-
the willow spokes all were in pussywillow bloom!

Arranging willow spokes
Lantern electrical check- the moment of truth...

If we all look delighted and perhaps a bit smug it's because we were!
Rae (in red) led us through a wonderful experience. 

My second class was led by Mary Auld. We covered spray bottles
with a combination of barks and grasses.

A familiar sight- fibres soaking before weaving.

In spite of best intentions, we ran out of time! As spray bottles are a must have took,
getting my project finished is high on my to-do list.

OOOPS- my third class was a sculptural cathead vessel with Jackie Abrams.
I was so challenged and intent that I completely forgot to take photos! My piece is currently 3/4 finished and I am under orders from Jackie to post a photo of the completed piece.

So ends my pictures of the work spaces. Mt next post will show some of the pieces displayed at the Retreat Gala Exhibition- stay tuned!

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