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.