Friday, December 18, 2009

2010 Guild Workshop Program

JANUARY & FEBRUARY - Twill Tote in two tone reed.
Hannah’s Marriage Basket from Lyn Siler’s “The Basket Book”
Guild Workshop leaders Germaine Osborn & Nancy Hager

FEBRUARY - Willow Tension Tray
Guild Workshop leader Frances Thorn

MARCH - Free-Form Coiling on a Gourd
Guild Workshop leader Catherine Devine

APRIL - Rib Construction, basic technique - 10" Melon basket
Guest instructor Cherilyn Braun

MAY - Connie’s Carrier in flat reed - a great basket for your vehicle
Guild Workshop leader Wanda Haydt

JUNE - Rib Construction - Four 8-hour workshops in willow
Guest Instructor Jo Campbell-Amsler
Gypsy Melon Basket & Wisteria Bowl - Chatham
Willow Ridge Herb Basket and Charm Basket - Strathroy

JULY - Garden Harvest pattern by Debbie Richards, flat oval & round reed on a wooden base
Guild Workshop leader Linda Dobinson

AUGUST - Morning - Modified Gretchen rim on Garden Harvest basket, Afternoon - open weave and instruction on gathering natural materials for fall workshops.

SEPTEMBER - Rib Construction on Antler and Driftwood - Two day workshops, Chatham - antler and Strathroy - driftwood.  Guest Instructor Sharon Breckenridge


OCTOBER - Begin weaving of the OHS 2011 Conference banquet centrepiece baskets.

NOVEMBER - Complete OHS 2011 Conference banquet centrepiece baskets
Potluck meal at noon

The focus of the Program for our Guild in 2010 will be on rib basketry and naturals, and as you can see from the above list of guest teachers, we will have lots of expert help in this department. Our goal is to create the centrepieces for the 2011 Ontario Handweavers & Spinners conference, "Back to Woodstock" that will be held in Woodstock, Ontario April 15th to 17th, 2011. This promises to be another great year for the Southwestern Ontario Basketry Guild!

November - Two for the Price of One!

Two mini-workshops were featured simultaneously so the large group was divided into 2 classes of 8. Some students made a pretty star of willow taught by Frances Thorn and some created a plaited box of paper, either brown wrapping paper or Christmas gift wrap, taught by Nancy Hager. People loved their little star and the paper patterns were amazing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

October Extravaganza - Two Workshops!

Two days with guest instructor, Dolores von Rosen and learning to create her own hexagonal overlay weave market basket, what could be better? A class of 14 students set to work adding stakes to a large oval wooden base. As members worked through the process, a unique basket emerged.

A few of the students with their finished baskets.

Since there was a limit of 14 for Dolores' class, an additional one day workshop was offered to accommodate other guild members. They wove a large market basket in gorgeous colours hand dyed by instructor, Linda Dobinson. Some had finished their basket by the end of the day, quite an accomplishment.

Here is an excerpt from an account written by member Ruth Ann Wilhelm and published in the guild newsletter, WeaveScape.

As I was working at weaving the hexagonal outer wall of the basket that Dolores von Rosen, our friend from South Carolina, had been teaching, I felt joy in seeing the coming together, the understanding of how the spoke-weavers intermingled to become the final product. It was a moment of delight! I quietly shared the thought with Maggie, saying that I didn’t want to say it out loud when others were struggling with broken spokes. But the truth is that I, too, had the same problem with two of my spokes and did the repair work. Those broken spokes did not dim the creative pleasure of it all coming together. And as we laughed about it the whole group knew my feelings!

There was the Rainbow Market Basket made by Linda, to be filled with goodies from the rest of us, as our donation to the facility that is our home for creativity once a month. I love it!

Some of the other talk in the room made reference to the grey hairs…too bad that there are not more young women to join us…and maybe they will when their hair turns and they have time after finishing child-rearing. Maybe they’ll follow in their mothers’ creative footsteps as some of us have done.

There is the comforting and solid stream of connection through the ages, women creating, sharing, giving…and the wonder of each and all of our “new” creations of the day!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

September Naturals Workshop

With leaves of 3 different iris, daylily and cattail, together with palm inflorescences, philodendron sheaths and any other we could gather, we all had a day of extreme creativity, if there is such a thing. The mold was a large pickle jar and with a wooden base attached to the lid and stakes of 3/8" flat oval reed, chased weave of fine cane was used to hold in the stakes and make a beginning. In these photos we see the different baskets developing their own character and beauty. The stakes were set in beforehand to save class time and there's a photo taken on that day. It was quite a production line with 15 or so to do. The concept of finding materials in your own garden is one that inspires our members and we're looking forward to more of the same in 2010.

For larger image, double click on photos.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August Workshop - Round Reed Japanese Weave

Everyone enjoyed making this challenging basket and the room was quiet with steady concentration. Here we are weaving the sides. If you look closely you may notice a couple of us working with willow skeins using a Chinese knot technique. Members are welcome to work on their own projects at meetings.

Monday, July 27, 2009

June and July Cathead with Feathered Corners

The June/July program involved 18 members making a lined cat head bread basket with feathered corners. This basket incorporated many "firsts" for a number of us. The bottom of the basket was woven in a 3/3 twill, and then the sides were woven in a chase weave, using flat and round reed. With much manipulation, the "cat ears" were formed at each corner, with a little help from an elf who went around to the struggling weavers. Feathering the corners was a delight. To me, the embellishment looked like a wheat sheaf, an appropriate emblem for a bread basket, but I wanted the sheaf to stand out against the basket. So I took out what I had done, and after dyeing the basket in a walnut dye, I redid the feathered corners in flat oval. The light/dark contrast of the feathering against the walnut-dyed basket gives the basket a finished look. The removable liner was inserted with a double circumference of thick round reed looped through the sewn pocket at the top of the liner. Another successful program for the SOBG. Thanks to all the leaders.

Woodland Weaver

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Weaving Willow's Story

How did it all begin? My first basketmaking experience was in the mid 1980’s, a large egg basket woven on grapevine rings and ribs. The place was the patio at the London home of my new mother-in-law, the teacher was Betty Britschgi and I loved every minute. This was the London guild of weavers and spinners basketry study group and we were meeting each month to make a basket. I think there were 7 baskets under my belt before the group folded for lack of leadership (one of the baskets still isn’t finished!!!). We had been rotating teaching among the members and I remember meeting in someone’s kitchen one night (she is now a SOBG member) where Betty taught Amy’s Basket from Lyn Siler's book.

There wasn’t much basketmaking through the ‘90s but Betty Britschgi gave me some cuttings from cultured basketry willow which came from Edna Baker, a former London guild member, and today it is my main crop, Green Edna. In 2000 Ankaret Dean sold me cuttings and that summer Jule Koch gave me cuttings from her two favourite varieties. I was on my way to becoming a willow grower and weaver! Finally in 2004 the time was right for me to take my first willow basketry class. After one week with Sarah Kern at Haliburton, I found myself absolutely hooked on weaving with willow. That October I had a weekend in Nova Scotia with Swiss Master Basketmaker, Verner Turtschi and the following summer, back to Nova Scotia for a week with Heather Sanft, repeated in summer 2007 to rendezvous with Jane, a new friend from a guild conference in Windsor where we wove willow together. The travel continues, attended the BA's York Spring School this year and am scheduled to take a class with Jo Campbell-Amsler at the Sievers School of Fiber Arts in August. Jane and I look forward to visiting basketmakers in Denmark one of these years.

What joy I felt when the opportunity to attend “Basketry Spree in 2003” came up and even more excited when SOBG was formed at the conference! The guild retreats that followed were unforgettable, the friendships formed will last forever. Two more SOBG conferences, “Baskets & More in 2004” and “Catch the Spirit” in 2006 gave me the opportunity to learn from new teachers and make contacts with basketmakers who soon became friends too. Growing willow and sharing it with others has put me in touch with even more basketmakers. The annual native black ash workshops in southwestern Ontario have formed a fresh circle of craftspeople. My willow blog has been a great way to meet people interested in willow. Basketmaking has truly opened a new world for me – of travel, learning, creativity and especially of friendship.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Program

When setting up the year's program, a range of techniques and materials is covered, from manufactured reed to naturals and from beginner to intermediate level. Monthly meetings feature a class for members and guests. Here is the look of the program for the current year including a couple of classes that were cancelled due to winter weather. A few kits for the February onion/garlic basket are available for $15.

JANUARY - Willow tension tray

FEBRUARY - Onion/garlic basket

MARCH - Coiling on a gourd

APRIL/MAY - Divided tool basket with swing handle

JUNE/JULY - Lined cat head bread basket with feathered corners

AUGUST - Round reed bowl

SEPTEMBER - Tapestry basket in natural materials

OCTOBER - 2 day workshop with Dolores Von Rosen featuring her award-winning double wall market basket with hexagonal overlay

NOVEMBER - Multi-coloured round reed decorator balls
- photo coming soon!

Some guild members are meeting in July to set up the 2010 program which will feature a number of rib basket techniques in a range of materials. Members please send your ideas to the Program Chair, Linda, or better still, come out to the meeting.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

April/May Meetings Featured Divided Tool Basket Workshop

This is an intermediate level basket but lots of help was available to beginners.

Every basketmaker needs a good tool basket. This one features a divider and a liner complete with pockets! The swing handle folds down out of the way to make it easier to find that tool. Nancy was our teacher but lots of mentoring was happening around the room. Here we are at work. Look for a class photo next month when all 16 baskets are completed!

Friday, May 8, 2009

One of our Nancys

Yarn, thread, weeds, wood, all natural fibers have moved me, since I was child weaving pot holders under a tree on a hot day. Basket weaving for me started about 20 years ago on a hang gliding trip with Dolores von Rosen and our men. The men went off early one morning and Dolores drew me into her weaving web in a dim orange and brown motel room, where hanks of reed were hanging everywhere. Looking now at my first basket, the whole scene comes back and makes me laugh. After that day, she could count on me for years to attend her basket workshops.

When Dolores after retirement moved back to South Carolina, I decided to teach workshops in my basement for a few years, while continuing to learn from Grace Kabel and other Michigan weavers. The von Rosen friendship stayed alive with our US/Canada trips back and forth - always including basket weaving. One can never be skilled enough or run out of design ideas - I was hooked.

After retiring from 40 years of teaching special education, I became a more active member in the SOBG, and my basement stash of fiber is once again multiplying like a friendly monster no matter how often I cull. I am so lucky to have a guild within driving distance with talented, interesting, lively, and lovely people.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day for The Arts

Saturday April 25th a couple of members set up a working display at the Strathroy District Arts Council's showcase of its members' activities.

The stacks of members' baskets and the works in progress attracted a lot of attention. Weaving Willow finished off a tall basket in wild willow and a new member from Union worked on a flat reed container. Later on, she enjoyed a private mini-class in making a willow tension tray.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April Meeting

The April meeting featured one of our members teaching a two day (April and May meetings) workshop. The project is a tool basket with divider and swing handle. The day passed swiftly as everyone immersed themselves in the basketmaking. There was a busy hum as members helped each other with technique and the finer points of creating this very useful basket. Watch for more next month.

Doesn't this beat any show and tell you've ever seen? Proud grandma, lucky grandkid!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March Meeting

The program featured gourd art teacher and author, Catherine Devine. See her work here. We are fortunate to have Catherine in SOBG.

Guild member, Edy wrote:

I must admit that I really didn’t know what to expect with this workshop. I’d seen pictures of gourd works of art but it remained a mystery to me until Catherine Devine’s introduction to coiling. What a great class! I learned so much. Once I had the base row completed the rest seemed to fall into place. I had a lot of “a-ha” moments when it came to joining rows and connecting rows together to get the shaping. With a little bit of luck and Catherine's patience, somehow my gourd was completed.

Waxed linen seemed to be quite easy to work with until a knot reared its ugly head.  Most knots were worked out with a little patience and a good needle.  The hardest part was picking out the colours because the options were endless. Every gourd in the class had a colour combination that I wished I had picked out for myself but in the end, I was quite happy with the final outcome. Catherine’s method of using a hair dryer to heat the wax really brought out the shine made the project even more successful.

I’m secretly sourcing out waxed linen for another project. I also have Catherine’s book. It’s a valuable reference, too. It was kind of neat to be able to look at the book again afterwards and have more things click into place.

The camaraderie of the group makes these workshops so much fun. For those who were unable to attend…you missed a great workshop. I hope Catherine can do another in the future!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Woodland Weaver

Woodland Weaver has been a loom weaver for 26 years. She lives in a quiet corner of Essex County, in a Carolinian woodland. During her weaving career, she has woven hundreds of rugs, scarves, towels, etc., always aiming for unique designs and colour combinations.

She has always dabbled in baskets, and every time there was a basket workshop at a weaving conference, she would take the class, because she was fascinated by the 3-D and textural feel of basketry. After joining the Southwestern Ontario Basketry Guild a few years ago, she has been able to further develop a love for basketry, and actually feels she almost knows what she is doing some of the time. But like learning complicated weave structures for the loom, basketry is never simple, and is an endless learning experience. With the kind donation of willow cuttings from a fellow basketmaker, she has started her own willow bed at the edge of the pond, and had a reasonable harvest this past fall, despite the rabbits. Woodland Weaver took on the job of WeaveScape editor for the basketry guild in 2008.

Woodland Weaver's husband is retiring in a couple of years and her 4 sons are slowly leaving the nest. They have bought another woodland home in southwestern Nova Scotia, and are looking forward to moving there in a few years. The new willow bed will be planted this spring, and Woodland Weaver looks forward to many years of weaving anything and everything, overlooking the sunsets on the Sable River.

Friday, February 20, 2009

February Meeting Cancelled

Due to bad weather, the meeting was cancelled, so our AGM will be held March 21st at the Chatham Cultural Centre where Catherine Devine will lead a workshop in closed coiling on a gourd.  Then see you all in April for the first of two classes taught by Nancy Flickinger.  The project will be a swing handled tool basket with divider, sounds challenging and fun.  Watch for more news on this.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Bit About the Guild

The Southwestern Ontario Basketry Guild was formed in April 2003 at the first Southwestern Ontario Basketry Conference in Strathroy. Guild members are from across southern Ontario. Some of us are beginners, some of us are teachers, but all of us enjoy the fellowship and sharing of knowledge that is a part of the life of a guild.

Members of the guild are poised for another exciting year of non-stop basketmaking! The 2009 program features some of our own members teaching numerous techniques with a wide range of materials. Some examples - tension tray, twining, coiling, making a divider and adding a handle, feather weave embellishment and making a liner, borders in round reed, using a wood base and tapestry weaving with a mould, random weave spheres. Some materials - round and flat reed, cane, waxed linen, naturals of all kinds - willow, pine needles, corn husks, iris, cattail, raffia, palm, willow skeins and bark, anything goes. The October program features a two day workshop with internationally known teacher, Dolores von Rosen and an open weave retreat on beautiful Lake Erie is in the works.

Members of the guild receive advance notice of and priority registration in guild workshops and retreats. They benefit from networking with fellow guild members, supporting the basketry community and lead in the art of basketmaking. They have the opportunity to make baskets at monthly workshops structured so that members may assist each other in learning the many aspects of basketry at a reasonable cost. The program is designed for basketmakers at all levels, from beginner to advanced. The guild publishes a quarterly newsletter, WeaveScape.

Next Meeting February 21st - Here's News of our November Workshop!

From the guild newsletter, WeaveScape:

An almost full house participated in the Christmas stocking workshop, based on a pattern developed by Dolores Von Rosen. In between, we took time out to enjoy the potluck lunch and put together a basket of goodies for the Chatham Cultural Centre’s silent auction on December 6th. The market basket was made by Linda and it was filled with many handmade items donated by guild members including other small baskets. The winning bid came in at $175 and the Centre is very pleased that we put together such a wonderful donation that contributed to the success of their fundraising evening.

Here we are, happy with our creations at the November workshop . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009