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Katherine Lewis Willow Baskets – Dunbar Gardens

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Katherine Lewis - Mount Vernon, Washington, USA

Katherine Lewis Willow Baskets – Skagit Valley / Mount Vernon, Washington, USA

 

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I am a basketmaker working on my farm in the Skagit Valley near Mount Vernon, Washington. I grow a large selection of basketry willows which allows me to choose from an array of natural colors. My goal is to weave baskets that are functional and durable while reflecting the natural beauty of the willows.

I weave baskets using traditional European stake and strand willow basketry techniques and the hand tools of the craft. From the harvest of the willows to the finished baskets the work is all done by hand. I have traveled several times to Europe to study the basketmaking traditions, explore the willow growing areas, and collect new varieties to plant for my work. I am helping to preserve these traditional willow basketry skills while rooting my craft in our Pacific Northwest landscape.

My primary materials are the willow withies that are harvested annually in the winter months on our farm. The willows are coppiced or cut back to the stool near ground level. Most are slender one year old rods but some are older for producing the necessary larger sticks.  Willow bark is peeled in the spring and summer from rods that are grown for several years to a larger size before harvest.

I began teaching basketry in 2004. My classes emphasize different techniques and styles of willow basketry. I teach near my home in Mount Vernon, as well as travelling to teach by invitation from organizations including the National Basketry Organization and the Peters Valley School of Crafts.

I was a featured artist in the National Basketry Organization Quarterly Review (Spring 2013) and profiled in the article “Katherine Lewis: Willow Basketmaker” in Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot magazine (Spring 2010) published by the Handweavers Guild of America. The Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired several of my baskets in 2011 as part of the Cole Ware Collection, which documents the revival of traditional basketry in the United States during the past fifty years. My work is included in the exhibition catalog “A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets” written by Renwick Gallery curator Nicholas Bell.

Katherine Lewis Willow Baskets is a member of the National Basketry Organization, Northwest Designer Craftsmen, Northwest Basket Weavers Guild and the Basketmakers’ Association (UK).

4 Comments

on Katherine Lewis Willow Baskets – Dunbar Gardens.
  1. |

    Katherine! What wonderful baskets you make, You may remember coming to my house and studio this year when you were in Ireland? That seems ages ago. I remember your name coming up on my cell phone as I was waiting for Jennifer to arrive.
    Why I am writing is firstly to make contact with you, secondly say what wonderful work you do, apologize that when you ladies came here I had no idea how complex and advanced everyone’s work was! You guys could buy and sell me! You went on to do work with 2 of the best Basket makers in Ireland.
    I loved having Jennifer here and wish I was young enough to travel to America to meet all of you again. Of course any of you are welcome here again.
    What actually prompted me to contact you was that I have a client from America who wants an Irish basket and I think he would be better off dealing with you and save himself the huge postage. I have no e-mail address for you so I look forward to a reply from you to proceed.
    Please get in touch. Kathleen McCormick

  2. |

    Beautiful work, Katherine. I wanted to be a basket maker at one time, but life got in the way. Your baskets are gorgeous!

  3. |

    Welcome Katherine to the TAFA List. Your baskets are lovely! Come join the Facebook group page. Lots of interesting discussions along with sharing what we are all working on. You can get to know the group better. Judy

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