Thursday, September 10, 2015

Repairing an antique doll's carriage

A basketry guild that I am a member of forwarded a mail to all members from the owner of an antique doll's carriage.
She was looking for someone to help repair the buggy as her 3 year old daughter unsuccessfully had tried to enter it and thus put her foot through it a couple of places.

I wasn't sure that I would be able to do the job, but was willing to take a look at it and responded to the mail. It turned out that the owner lived just about 30 minutes drive from here and she came to see me with the buggy.
My first impression was that it was made using flat reed. As I only do work with natural willow I showed the owner examples of baskets the weave of which would be similar on the buggy if I did the job, and she was excited to have me try to not fix or repair, but replace the weave.
So after a few days I contacted her with a quote as I had decided what/how to do.
The original cover had been cut to fit from a woven sheet and attached to the frame with multiple nails. Then another strip was attached to cover the nails and ends of the weave - using nails. As can be seen on the first of these images, the weave had been painted at least 3 times: pink, blue and the last cote white.
Removing the original cover was a much bigger job than I had anticipated, but I got it off. Interestingly enough it turned out that the material used for the weave was PAPER. Fairly heavy paper folded twice and the stakes were paper that was rolled so that it resembled round reed.
The owner had chosen Salix x 'Americana' for the weave and we decided to paint the frame black which would suit the darker green colour of the willow.
For the basket part of the buggy I drilled holes under the bottom of the frame for my stakes.

Turning the stakes out and around the frame and tying them made it possible for me to weave the sides of the buggy so that the "basket" fit snug around the frame all the way around. 

For further stability and a bit of interest I tied willow around the edge at a point on both sides.
Now to the canopy!
The owner had given me permission to make changes and the two "windows" in the canopy weren't going to be incorporated in the new design.
A square, cracked peg inserted to hold the top frame in place - and to which the original weave was nailed - was replaced with a piece of a willow rod that was naturally black.
To make it all come together I turned the weave around (in the original it appeared that the "stakes" would run from front to back) and wove the canopy as a "frame basket" starting in the middle of the inserted willow piece. 

And the final appearance.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Willow basketry classes in Wainfleet, Ontario taught by Danish Anne Mette Hjornholm

Once again the talented Danish willow artist and basket maker Anne Mette Hjornholm will visit Lakeshore Willows in Wainfleet, Ontario to teach.

Anne Mette is a professional basket maker, and her beautiful work has landed her contracts for making baskets for TV shows and movies in addition to teaching engagements in several countries. For more information about Anne Mette, check out her website here where you can also find links to her blog and facebook page.

This year we have scheduled 6 days of weaving fun in September. 3 classes of 2 days each where you choose your project within a preset theme. 

September 15-16th the theme is "SCULPTURAL WEAVE" which can be for example a small animal sculpture as the swan above or it can be something abstract as the forms in the picture below.
You can find more examples of sculptural weave and inspiration on Anne Mette's website and on her blog.

September 17-18th and September 19-20th the theme is frame baskets (rib baskets) 
You can register for 2 days of frame baskets or for all 4 days. When you register for all 4 days you will be able to work across those 4 days to create as many or as few baskets as you choose to.
Frame baskets can take many different shapes and willow bark and other weaving materials can be added to the willow frame and weave.
The gallery at Anne Mette's website has a lot of frame baskets for inspiration and ideas about what you would like to make during the classes.
For more information about the classes and to register, go to Lakeshore Willow's website.
Book early as classes WILL fill fast.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.I

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Exceptional willow basketry classes at Lakeshore Willows, Wainfleet, Ontario

Some things have to be scheduled early, far in advance of the actual event.
One such thing is the willow basketry classes taught by renowned Danish basket makers Ane Lyngsgaard and Eva Seidenfaden.
If you made it here for the classes last summer, you certainly want to come back for more - and if you didn't make it, you wish that you had. In both cases you have to be quick to be sure to get a spot this June.

2-day classes are offered June 15-16th:

Ane has a passion for working with bark (willow and other), creating beautiful bowls, purses, vases and much more.

During this 2-day class you will create your own bark container using willow bark and other natural materials. For more examples of Ane's bark work, see the class information on our website. 
This class is for weavers of all levels of experience.

Eva describes herself as a "non-traditional" basket maker with a thirst for exploring and experimenting.

During this 2-day class you will work with the frame of a traditional round willow basket - with the added benefit that you can make the side weave, handle, border etc your own design guided by Eva. 

If you are a beginner you will learn all the basic techniques in willow basket making and if you are more advanced, you have an opportunity to learn new techniques and details.
This class is for weavers of all levels of experience.

3-day classes are offered June 17-19th

Ane is well known for her beautiful asymmetrical, sculptural/functional organic baskets.

You will learn new techniques to accomplish this beautiful, flowing, organic shape in a tight weave. You choose if you want to make a more sculptural basket or a functional basket with a handle.
You can see more examples of this type of basket on Ane's website.
Some experience working with willow would be helpful.

Eva  and the French Perigord basket go hand in hand. She has studied this basket on numerous trips to France, visiting and learning from some of the "old" basket makers who made this market basket for practical use - and she even wrote a book about it! The book is in English and in addition to the stories and history of the Perigord basket it has detailed instructions and comes with a DVD.

The basket can be made with many variations and I think that everyone will agree that it is very beautiful in its clean, open look.
During this class you will study the basket learning the unique technique to create it.
For more images of the perigord basket visit Eva's website. Check out her gallery - you will find an abundance of beautiful images of her work.
Some experience working with willow would be helpful.

For more information about the classes and to register, please go to the event's page on Lakeshore Willows' website.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From 2014 Willow Basketry events to new adventures in 2015

2014 started very slowly as we had a very cold and long winter. 

This photo is from March 30th and some of the willow field still has snow drifts more than 1 meter (3-4 feet) deep. We were getting anxious to harvest the willow before it all started to grow again.
March and April are usually the time for workshops creating living willow structures in pots. Because of the winter dragging on and on we only managed to have a few sessions, but we had a lot of fun.
I haven't been good at remembering to take photos during workshops. I have to get better at that to save the memories of some wonderful hours with great people eager to learn and excited about their creations.
Several workshops took place here during the year where I had the opportunity to share some of the basket making techniques that I have learned.
For the third year in a row we were fortunate to have Anne Mette Hjornholm here from Denmark to teach 4 wonderful days of classes.
Just three weeks later we had two more of Denmark's talented willow artists visiting.
 Ane Lyngsgaard and Eva Seidenfaden taught 3 days of exciting classes.

The Southwestern Ontario Basketry Guild (SOBG) of which I am a business member, held a wonderful "Willow Retreat" at the Michaelite House Retreat Centre in London, Ontario
I had a great group of students making baskets on a Catalan base.
In August I also had the pleasure to visit The Branch Ranch to teach a week of classes. A wonderful place with great people and lots of fun.
We always end the year with a few winter/Christmas workshops that are fun and relaxed with emphasis on making smaller decorative items. We did have 3 sessions, but these two ladies were tough. They made it here in a severe snowstorm - all the way from Wisconsin and New York - while the other participants registered for that class (from Ontario)  cancelled because of the snow. 

Just as last year at this time we are now waiting for the snow to melt so that we can start harvesting our willow. Hopefully that will happen within the next 4-6 weeks.

In the meantime we have the first workshops of the new year 2015 this week, Wednesday and Thursday and more will be scheduled for the next few months including a few Living Willow sessions in March and April.

In addition to a few speaking engagements, workshops off site, a week long  series of classes at Haliburton School of Art and participation in Port Colborne's first Art week I am looking forward to once again welcoming Ane Lyngsgaard and Eva Seidenfaden to teach classes here in June and Anne Mette Hjornholm to teach here for the forth year in September. 

Watch out for my next newsletter with information about the upcoming classes.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dormant willow cuttings and rods for propagation

Winter, snow and ice
of course, it is January in Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada so no gardening for us yet.

There is no doubt though, that gardeners and the like are thinking about the coming spring as we have orders coming in for dormant willow cuttings for gardeners and growers.
So whether you are looking for willow cuttings to plant for ornamental use in your garden, plant a larger willow bed for basketry, or creating living willow structures such as living willow fences, play domes and tunnels - NOW is the time to plan and to secure your order.

Orders are placed as they come in for delivery later in spring so although we haven't harvested the willow in the field yet, it is time for you to get your orders in if you plan on planting willows come spring.

For information about our willows and ordering dormant materials visit Lakeshore Willows website.

To see earlier posts about propagation, cuttings and rods click here.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Willow basket making classes scheduled for fall 2014

Want to make your very own willow basket for the first time, learn a new technique, practice what you know or focus on the finer details of a certain basket?

Here is your chance if you live  in - or travel to - Niagara, Ontario, more specifically here at Lakeshore Willows in Wainfleet.

We have scheduled several classes for the next couple of months and we still have a few spots open for each class. Check our website for details here.

The focus for each class is a specific basket, but if you are looking for something else, let me know and we can possibly fit that in too.

September 25-26, 2014 the class focus is on making a bird feeder.

September 27-28 and November 19-20, 2014
the class focus is on making oval baskets and purses on a Catalan base.

October 18, 2014 making Tatza baskets, garden globes or obelisks.

October 29-30, 2014 we're making either bird feeders or round baskets

November 28-30 and December 12, 2014  one day Christmas/Winter workshops. We will make stars, wreaths cones, angels, small and large Christmas trees and much more. More images to come.

To sign up for any of the classes and workshops, please fill in a contact form on my website and I will get back to you.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My willow story

A month ago I was contacted by Jennifer Elliotson. She is the one many people know as the woman behind the HandMade Market here in Niagara which she produces along with her husband.
Or you may know her from her very successful years as a florist, owning Mimosa Flower Studio.
Jennifer contacted me because she - along with photographer Nataschia Wielink - has started "The Abstract Project" interviewing and photographing artists and wondered if I would participate. 
Of course. I was thrilled that they found my story interesting and one day in May they both came to Lakeshore Willows to talk and take some photos.
The first of two articles can be seen at Cherries in the Sun .
After Jennifer's first visit to Lakeshore Willows, she decided that she wanted to make a willow basket and she turned out to be a natural when she was here last week for a workshop.
Jennifer with her very first basket
She really loved my big log basket!

It was wonderful and very inspirational to get to know Jennifer. In Cherries in the Sun you get inspiration from this very (multi) talented, energetic and curious life-loving person.
Thank you Jennifer.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.