Thursday, January 5, 2017


What could be more exciting than to work with an internationally renowned expert in primitive crafts, learning the finer points of willow basketry? Even more so if you get to decide yourself which project you want to work on with him?

If you agree, you don't want to miss out on this opportunity at Lakeshore Willows, Wainfleet, Ontario in June 2017.

Danish willow basket maker SteenHedegaard Madsen is well known throughout the international willow basketry community for a variety of reasons.
He is indeed a master basket weaver and you will find many people who will claim that he is THE master. In his modest way he told me that he is not a genius in any way – he has just been around for many years.

I first met Steen in 2013 when I, during a visit to Denmark, had an opportunity to work with him for 2 days in his charming studio.

Here is Steen outside the house in which his studio is along with a kitchen, small dining area and sleeping area for visiting students.

Ever since he was a young boy Steen has been interested in history and antiquity. He would play “stone age” with his friends, hunting with their homemade flint arrowheads and cooking their catch over the open fire while making more arrowheads.
Later – for a total of 19-20 years he would work at a Danish Historical Archaeological Research Center.

Maybe as a natural consequence of his interest for old crafts and skills Steen fell in love with willow basket making and is today one of the foremost experts reconstructing baskets made during a time from which no written documentation exists.
Steen working in his studio
A collection of old and new fishing creels at the wall

But more than that today, for those of us who desire to learn the finer points in willow basket making, he travels the World to teach us classes. Historical baskets – if that is what you are interested in – but not just that. Steen will teach you almost any kind of willow basket and bark container; you just have to ask.
During a class Steen usually teaches whatever each student wants to learn! The topics for the class of the day are pretty much open – only limited by your previous weaving experience and skills.
Check out his information on facebook and his website.

And this is your chance for a new willow experience!
This basket maker whose skills are second to none will teach and guide you in creating the basket you are most interested in making.

The classes will fill up fast so if you want to participate, register NOW.

After you register, you want to spend time over the next couple of months exploring what you want to work on with Steen. Use books, the internet, pinterest, facebook etc for inspiration and bring photos or sketches for the class.

I will ask you a few weeks before the classes what you want to make so that I will be able to have the right sizes and amounts of willow prepared.

Some baskets (for example square baskets with or without a lid) are not for a total beginner and for oval baskets it is also recommendable that you have some experience with willow.
If you have any questions about that you can either ask me when you register or send me a mail.

Here are some pics from Steen that may help you to get started on your search for the perfect project!

Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

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