Monday, December 23, 2013

Hello to the New Year 2014

2013 was an exciting year here at Lakeshore Willows with workshops and new developments.
Now that the Christmas markets, events and workshops  are done - the photo above is from the Christmas event at Vineland Estates Winery in December - and as the year is coming to an end, it is time to make some plans for 2014.

The garden globe has been popular at workshops here and is offered as a project to do at a one-day workshop again next year.
For other workshop projects available check out "Workshops and Events"
In January and February a workshop on the Tatza basket is offered at Vineland Estates Winery in combination with a delicious lunch at the winery restaurant and also winery tour and wine & cheese pairing seminar. Scheduled dates are January 25th and February 22nd. Further information to be announced at our website and also at Vineland Estates Winery's website.

From lush and green to naked with changed colour palettes the willow is now ready to be harvested. We expect to start sometime in February - weather dependent - and living willow for propagation and living willow structures will be available after harvest. 
Orders are coming in and filled as received for shipping later in winter/early spring after harvest.

A few workshops have been scheduled for January, February, March and April and information can be found on my website under "Workshops and Events".
In addition to that we are very excited about willow basketry classes in May and June with 3 of Denmark's most talented, internationally known willow artists.
Detailed information about these classes will go out in a newsletter in January as well as being posted here at the blog and on the website.
In the meantime I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2014.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Willow basketry workshops scheduled

It has been a busy summer – and I will tell you more about that including my travel for basketry classes – but it is time for some willow basketry workshops here at Lakeshore willows in Wainfleet, Ontario.
I have just scheduled workshops for September, October, November and December and you can see the details on my website under Workshops and Events


The weather has been perfect this year for growing willow here and I look forward to an exceptional harvest next winter. It is not so easy to take photos in the field that will show just how large some of the willow is, but the other day I had some help. With people walking in the field by the willow I was able to capture – from a distance – just how tall some of the varieties are growing.
Right behind the two ladies are Salix miyabeana and S var ‘Daves Green’ and further down is S x ‘Americana’

I have been practising some of the techniques that Anne Mette taught at the classes here last month (see previous 3 blog posts) as I am preparing for the upcoming markets.
The Tatza baskets (Polish bread baskets) are fun to make and pretty. Using the same technique they can be made to look quite different depending on number of rods used, colours and variations in the pattern.
The baskets in the photo on the right are baskets on a Catalan base.


As it is not common that you receive any written instructions at a willow basketry class, I usually take lots of notes and photos (just love digital cameras).
Unfortunately – as I was the hostess and go to at the classes as well as participating as a student – I didn’t take the time to take notes and only a few pics. That is why you can see my little notebook on the table next to the base of the basket that I made, while I still remembered a lot, after the classes. So what I missed during the days of classes, I caught up on a few days later.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Frame willow baskets – third Hjornholm class 2013


 Also a two-day class we enjoyed making frame baskets of different styles, sizes and designs. Furthermore a few students who didn’t make it into our “Baskets on a Catalan Base” class were making a purse on a Catalan base during this class. 

Anne Mette taught us the basics of making big rings of willow for the hoops of the baskets. Most of us succeeded somewhat with the rings, but when any of us had a challenge, Anne Mette’s strong hands and expertise from making hundreds of these rings quickly and seemingly without much effort magically fixed the ring.

For the rings I had cut some fresh rods of Salix dasyclados that has not been cut down the last two years and now have the strength, flexibility and tension that make for good rings. The rods had been cut 2 weeks before the class and were stored in the shade behind the barn.

                                                      P1010089 P1010106

Cathryn working concentrated on her beautiful tray and in front of the barn with the finished product. Great job!

P1010087 P1010091 P1010093 P1010094

These four baskets are basically the same although the shapes vary from almost round to oval and the sizing is different. The basket to the right has a random weave which looks very beautiful and will be finished off with bands of willow bark woven in between some of the willow.

As I mentioned in my earlier postings about Anne Mette’s classes here, it was a delight to watch how Anne Mette is able to cater to the needs of both the beginner and more experienced willow basket weaver. I believe that everyone went home full of inspiration and with some new skills learned.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Willow basket weaving – baskets on a Catalan base

After a wonderful day making Tatza baskets, Saturday and Sunday were a two-day class on baskets on a Catalan base taught by Danish basket maker Anne Mette Hjornholm.2013-07-20

Once again we started out in the barn working on the Catalan base for our baskets. The Catalan base is  beautiful and very versatile and baskets were made of different designs from a large, beautiful oval basket to purses of various shapes and weaving techniques.


Later we moved out to work in the shade of our old weeping willow and the heat wasn’t quite as unbearable there.


By the end of the day you feel kind of “sticky” and Anne Mette and Jane decided to go for a swim in the lake. You can barely see their heads as two little, black dots in the picture.



In addition to the willow weaving experience of this class old friends enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together doing one of the things that they like - making willow baskets – while chatting and exchanging news.

Everyone had a great time learning new skills and enjoying each other’s company.



Most of us chose to make a purse during this class and here is an example of an open, fitched purse.

Other purses had a closed weave and patterns were created using different weaving techinques and different willow varieties for colour:



Really, working and creating with willow is absolutely wonderful

Monday, July 29, 2013

Willow basket weaving one o' one

Anne Mette Hjornholm was here from Denmark to teach willow basket weaving again last week - and we were not disappointed! In fact, just like last year everyone was thrilled about her abilities to cater to each individual person's needs as we all are at different levels of experience. 

Day one making Tatza baskets

The Tatza basket - also called a Polish bread basket - is a beautiful flat basket that can be varied in many ways. These are made using 6 x 6 willow rods of just one variety of willow and a small star of 6 x 2 rods appear in the center. Made with two or more varieties of willow with different colored bark the basket will appear quite different. It can also be varied by choosing another number of rods or by weaving another path of the rods in the center. 
The day was hot and after having assembled rods for our first baskets, we soon migrated from the barn to the lawn underneath our old weeping willow. For some magical reason there always seems to be a cooler breeze in the shade there - coming from Lake Erie just across the road. 
As we were working on our second baskets Anne Mette was able to keep an eye on all of us from the swing at the center of the tree. A wonderful start to 6 days of weaving.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Willow Basket Weaving - and Opportunity

I have mentioned it before. It can be difficult, very difficult to find someone living nearby who can teach you willow basket making - that is when you live in North America.We have some good willow basket makers in this part of the world; but they are few and far between.

Last month I had the opportunity to combine visits with family and friends while in Denmark with willow weaving sessions. Although Denmark is a very small country, I believe that they have some of the very most talented willow artists in Europe and I spent a few days learning from the best and discussing opportunities.

Anne Mette Hjornholm, who will be teaching here at Lakeshore Willows for 6 days in July, offered to teach me a technique new to me. Unfortunately I didn't have room in my suitcase to bring my basket home; but it found a home at my daughter's house. This week I am making a couple more to get a better feel for it.

Anne Mette's studio is like a candy shop when you like willow basketry and art. Take a tour of her website - you can choose English text - to see some of her beautiful work.

This very charming little girl - full of energy - was at our side most of the day

Anne Mette also introduced me to two of her friends and colleagues, both members of the Danish group "Baskets4Life" as is Anne Mette. 
Ane Lyngsgaard, a professional basket maker, owns "Pileriet" a former dairy renovated, rebuilt and now featuring 2 work studios, sleeping and cooking facilities for students staying there for classes as well as living quarters for Ane and her family. 

This was of course another place to make me drool. Baskets and sculptures everywhere. Ane's website also features English texts as you browse some of her extraordinary work. 

Dorte Tilma works her art with a multitude of materials. To mention a few: Large seaweed, willow, burning nettles, avocado shells, driftwood, bark. Besides that her skills with fibers as in knitting, sewing, weaving are fabulous and you cannot help but be inspired by her. Her website is also worth a visit for anyone interested in basketry and art. 

Another internationally very well known Danish basket maker is Steen H Madsen. I was lucky to be able to book two days of "private class" with him at his studio where I - by chance - had an opportunity to meet the French basket maker and author Bernard Bertrand who was visiting for a couple of days.
Steen's knowledge about basketry and historical baskets is enormous and he has an impressive collection of baskets of all sorts. My next blog post will  about my days with him.

Opportunity, opportunity... I think there is a chance that both Ane Lyngsgaard and Steen Madsen will one day visit Lakeshore Willows to teach classes.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This blog, WILLOWS has for a long time now acted both as a blog and a website.
After a long time coming I finally took the time to set up a website and I hope you like it: 

This, of course, means that there will be some changes to the blog as information will be placed on the website and WILLOWS will revert to being a blog with references to the website.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


What an amazing opportunity! One of Europe's most talented willow artists - Anne Mette Hjornholm - will be visiting Lakeshore Willows again this summer to teach willow basketry classes.. 

If you like willow basketry, you don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from this very talented willow artist. 4 classes with Anne Mette have been scheduled:
Friday, July 19th 2013
Saturday and Sunday July 20th-21st, 2013 (2-day class)
Monday and Tuesday July 22nd-23rd, 2013 (2-day class)
Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

During the 6 days of classes a wide variety of designs and techniques will be taught and your project will be tailored after your preferences and skill level.

Each class will have a theme 
(click on photos to enlarge)

Friday the Tatza basket is taught. This is also called a Polish Bread basket. You will make 2-3 baskets of this type during this one day class.

Saturday and Sunday a wide variety of designs of baskets and purses made on a Catalan base will be available for you to choose from.

Monday and Tuesday again, a wide variety of designs of baskets, trays and sculptural designs "frame baskets with or without frames" will be available for you to choose from.

Wednesday you will learn the
Burkina technique and make 2-4 small, charming baskets at this one day class.

More information about the classes - and a registration form - can be found under the tab "Hjornholm 2013 class" at the top and don't forget to check out Anne Mette's web-site Hjornholm Pil - now also an English version. 

Last year Anne Mette's class was filled within one week! So if you want to take one or more of this year's classes, make sure to register NOW.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Living Willow Workshops Spring 2013

Winter is here, but in another month we will be anxious to get our hands dirty in the garden.
Luckily that's the time to create living willow trees for your patio and garden and we have scheduled a number of workshops during March and April. At the workshops this spring you will be able to make
Harlequin tree
Variations of the twisted tree

Or multi-stemmed columnar trees where a number of living rods are woven together in a circle or square.

For information about scheduled workshops, time, cost etc, please look under the tab "Workshops and Events" at the top.

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.