Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

My booootiful daughter Genevieve!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Progress!

kelp before....
In August I untangled, sorted and dried a raft of slippery kelp on a Pender Island Beach. I brought it home and it has rested ever since in a salt crusted pile in the basement. My ever patient family have ignored it. I've read numerous basketry books, googled for info and have taken real time workshops and have finally tried my hand at making kelp baskets! It is absolutely addictive and one of those processes where the irregularity of the materials sometimes lead me far away for any pre-project sketches.
My supply stash of kelp has been wiped out and here are my first kelp baskets.

...kelp after.
I need more basket making materials, happily my garden needs pruning and I'll be heading down to the beach to see what supplies I can find there!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cedar Demo Basket Completed

I won Kathey Ervin's partially completed demo basket with the understanding that I had to finish it. Yesterday I collected up all the leftover cedar from the workshop and set to it. Here's the completed basket embellished with a piece of fungus I found on the forest floor during a hike on Galiano Island.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cedar Bark Basketry- Kathey Ervin in Sequim Washington

 I'm home again after a marvelous weekend on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I caught the Coho ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles on Saturday and drove to Kathey Ervin's Basketry Studio in Sequim  to participate in her Beginner's Cedar Bark Basket Class.
The Basketry Studio Classroom
The Olympic Mountains - Kathey's willow grove in the foreground
Kathey's classroom gallery was tantalizing inspiration as we settled in for the day's work
I LOVE this cedar bark basket- it took a year to cure after it was shaped.
Kathey's Classroom is fragrant with cedar and the walls are lined with shelves of her beautiful work as well as a generous supply of ready made kits that she offers for sale. Kathey is an enthusiastic and thoughtful teacher who stresses the importance of materials collection in the creation of baskets. We weren't able to trek into the bush to harvest cedar but we did watch two exceptional videos showing us how cedar and sweetgrass are harvested using traditional methods.
Kathey has bundles of prepared cedar available for sale

Kathey demonstrates splitting the strips of cedar

Kathey collects her own cedar bark from her local forests and log sorts as well as  taking an annual trip to Alaska to collect the coveted Alaskan yellow cedar which, when soaked after a year of drying feels like smooth strong and pliable leather.  We all learned to splice and slice the cedar bark to prepare the  spokes and weavers... 

The class was a fun group and we enjoyed a delicious potluck lunch, lots of laughter and a sense of accomplishment  at the end of the day! I look forward to heading to Sequim again- I highly recommend Kathey's classes!
Here is my second ever basket...

...once again it contains many mistakes as I learn but the good thing is that as I examine it I know how to approach the next one and the next one is not any "ordinary" task!
Kathey worked on a basket through the class and at the end of the day offered the partially completed piece in a raffle with the condition that the winner was responsible for completing the basket and -omg- I WON! So here is the basket as it awaits completion....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good Feelings

I just got home from an extended long weekend celebrating Thanksgiving on Saltspring Island and that was a good feeling!
The feeling continued when I got  home and received a back-ordered shipment of bezels so I could get an order finished and it sits waiting for me to take it to the Post Office- once mailed I'll have another good feeling!
The good feelings continue as I share some pictures and links of some of the creative people I met in New Mexico!


I met Karen Gardiner at the Artisan's Show in Santa Fe. Her Assemblaged Angels spoke to me and when you visit her blog and read her story you'll be very moved. She's a lovely lady and good naturedly allowed me to photograph the rear of her booth- admit it- we artisans love the contents AND construction of show booths! You can see more of Karen's work in greater detail in her Etsy site.

I like Karen's use of frames and wire grids for her booth

When I was in Taos I visited an outdoor craft show and found a booth displaying an array of baskets, gourds and bark containers made by Byron Williams
Byron Williams (left) works constantly between sales
The last creative person of the day is Annette Randell. She is the proprietor of Artemesia Gallery in Taos. Her store is a visual feast and I LOVED every second as I explored the racks of gorgeous handcrafted artwear.  Sometimes I think I'd love to own a shop like that!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My First Basket Making Workshop!

I went to my first basket-making workshop yesterday at Victoria's gorgeous Glendale Gardens
The Honeysuckle Rib Basket class was taught by Salt Spring Islander Joan Carrigan .  Joan is a brilliant basket maker, a very effective teacher and an absolute delight as she peppers her instructions with inventive words and phrases that make absolute sense as you poke, pack, weave and swoosh the materials into place. It was a lively class and as there was a psychiatrist and psychologist in the group we had no end of laughs about the therapeutic benefits of our choice of activity!
Joan helps us get started

At the end of the day- great work!

The verdict is in- I LOVED the process! Good thing as I currently have two more workshops ahead and I'm looking for more through this "Sabbatical" year. I need to give myself a good grounding in basketry before I'll be able to tackle some of the mixed media concepts that stare at me from my sketchbooks.
Here's my basket. As with all "firsts" it has approximately one million mistakes but I will cherish it always and I doubt I'll ever learn more from a single basket.