Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Willow & Summer Dreams

Now that we've passed the winter solstice and the days are getting longer again, willow growers are thinking ahead to the next season. Here's some inspiration from Upper Michigan basketmaker Poppy Hatinger, who shared her willow coracle project last month.

Poppy sent two images of her Abby's House project. It's a living willow structure she named for her granddaughter and built in hopes of sharing time together looking for clovers and caterpillars.

Above is a picture was taken during the summer of the year it was planted.

This was taken the next summer.
This is another living trellis project. Poppy didn't note when it was planted, but did say it needs to be trimmed three or more times a year to keep it under control. 

Finally, Poppy sent an image of a trellis in progress using a pizza box jig idea she picked up in a lecture I did a few years back at the Association of Michigan Basketmakers conference. (You can read more about the technique here.)

The snow depth in our area is much deeper now than when Poppy took picture above. Below is my own Scarlett O'Trellis, which was built using the pizza box jig, in a photo from last year.

Here she is today.

Scarlett guards my front flower bed in the winter. She's (usually) tall enough for the snow plow to see to know when to push no farther. 
My west willow bed guards has a winter job, as well. It acts as a snow fence to protect the house from blowing and drifting snow.

Are you shoveling snow, watching it rain, or enjoying a beautiful winter day with a couple extra minutes of daylight? Wherever you are, happy holidays to all from Donna, Jo and Joanna!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Hip To Be Square

Sandy Whalen will be teaching squarework at the 2011 Festival of American Basketry in Iowa's historic Amana Colonies. Information about the conference is posted on the Living Willow Workshops Page.

If you've been wanting to tackle squarework, don't miss this opportunity. I made the basket below in a class with Sandy at the Association of Michigan Basketmakers Conference in about 1997 and it's still one of my all-time favorites.

At Amana, Sandy her teach her willow Trinket Trunk as a 2-day workshop. She'll also teach her round Swirl Patio Tray as a 1-day class.

If you have willow workshop information to announce on this site, please email it to donnastitches[at]gmail[dot]com.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Willow Weekend & Other Workshops

Jo Campbell-Amsler's Step-By-Step Rib-Style Basics
Information about the February 2011 Willow Weekend at the Amana Colonies is now available on the Living Willow Workshops page. We'll let you know when additional events are posted on the page. If you have an upcoming willow workshop you'd like to have listed, please send the info to donnastitches[at]gmail[dot]com.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coracle Project

A group of Upper Michigan basketmakers have a willow coracle project under way. According to Poppy Hatinger, the group brainstormed with Jo Campbell-Amsler during the Association of Michigan Basketmakers conference, and decided to make three of the craft.

The first was woven from fresh willow this fall before the ground froze. The frame will spend the winter under weight (and probably covered with snow). In the spring, they will remove the plastic cable ties used to preserve shaping as the willow dries, and lash the joints with basswood bark cordage made by one of the project participants, Karen Tembreull. Then they will cover the frame with canvas, and paint the canvas with waterproofing.

A second coracle will be made this winter using a wooden jig. The third will be woven using dried and resoaked willow for comparison with the first one woven from fresh willow.

As the project progresses, we hope they'll share updates. And this correspondent definitely wants to be on hand when they launch the fleet!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stonehenge & Willow

A British engineer and his friends recently tested his theory that baskets woven of willow and alder saplings could have been used to roll the massive standing stones at Salisbury from where they were quarried in Wales.

You can read the story here. Thank you to willow weaver Jacki Bedworth for the heads up on this story.