Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Natural Selections 2.0 "contemporary art meets nature" Group Show

Margaret Withers, stealing entropy,
2010, resin, pigment, oil, string, painted vellum, 24x24
© Margaret Withers

I am honored to have art work selected for the Natural Selections 2.0 "contemporary art meets nature" Group Show at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota.

The show will open Feb 1st, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM and run through April 1, 2011.

There will be 21 artists represented from the US and 1 artist from Belgium.

Alan Montgomery and Destry Sparks have curated the show.

Karl E. Mundt Gallery at Dakota State University
820 N. Washingston St.
Madison, South Dakota 57042

The artists:
Cathryn Peters, Angora, MN
Greg Patch, Surf City, NC
Milbert Whitley, Pantego, NC
Joshua Coombs, Philadelphia, PA
Jane Horner, New Bern, NC
Pamela Zimmerman, Washington, NC
Emily Soldin Howard, Raleigh, NC
Joey Howard, Raleigh, NC
Maxine Masterfield, South Sarasota, FL
Meredith Loughlin, Washington, NC
Neil Loughlin, Washington, NC
Betsy Stewart, Washington, DC
Andrew Fullwood, Chapel Hill, NC
Platon Alexis Hadjimichalis, Brussels, Belgium
Jenny Hodges, Wilmington, NC
Kiernan McGonnell, Chicago, IL
Margaret Withers, Brooklyn, NY
Peggy Guichu, Phoenix, AZ
Destry Sparks, Greenville, NC

The piece of mine included in this show is "Uprooted." It is woven of dandelion stems, hardwood tree roots, yucca fiber, waxed linen, wire, palm inflorescence, and copper. Photo of "Uprooted" by Ronald L. Sowers Photography.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas, Basket!

Another great basket from Ruth Anne Danger!

This one features a holly pottery basket base she purchased from my MakeABasket.etsy.com shop, as well as a whole string of light bulb beads!

Ruth Anne has a lovely way with coached floating coils, dyed pine needles, and beautifully (deceptively simple-appearing) swirling stitches

I love all the details she puts into these baskets, she constructs them with great love and care...and it is no wonder! This one will take front and center attention at her State Fair!

Ruth Anne writes about her baskets: Our State fair is in Jan. so it is coming soon even tho it is 2011. They ask everyone to enter one Christmas item along with our reg. entries. Then they set up a living room with all the entries from ornaments,quilts, wall hangings,etc.. They are always pleased to have the baskets.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Register NOW for My Classes March 18 & 20, 2011 at NCBA Convention!

The NCBA 2011 convention brochure is finally online! Click on that link to download your own copy!

Registration is online NOW, and I would love to have you in my classes!

I am teaching Friday, March 18 and Sunday, March 20.

Here is a little more about my classes:

Horsehair Kisses
FR 1443m, page 30 in brochure (top right)
Friday, 1:30pm - 5:30pm
4 hours
Make a tiny basket on a lanyard to decorate your phone, zipper, or key ring. Learn how to start a horsehair basket from scratch.

These adorable charms can be open bowls or the vase-like "olla" shape. Joined to the lanyard with a split ring, you can easily convert your horse kiss to a necklace, if you so desire. There will be color choices!

REQUIRED: Good finger dexterity and previous coiling experience. Bring light, small sharp scissors, tiny clips and a magnifier. This is tiny work! Very few basket makers work in this medium, this is your chance to learn how!

Random Weave Garden Basket
SU442, brochure page 43, top left
Sunday, 8am - noon
4 hours
All levels

Random weave is so much fun! Make a great handled basket, as shown, or use your imagination to make your own shape.

We'll be using a lovely segmented vine that looks like bamboo, it is a lovely light honey color and is lightweight and smooth on the hands. This class is a great way to wrap up your convention!

These baskets are fabulous accents in the garden or on a porch, and function beautifully as planters. We will discuss use of the basket in the garden.

If you have questions about the classes, please feel free to contact me!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Basketweaving Essentials with Nadine Spier

Nadine Spier is internationally known for her work in pine needle coiling, and also as an artist who teaches. Living in California, which is something of a pine needle coiling “capital,” Nadine runs an active studio, teaching weaving techniques and selling supplies. Her latest venture is a DVD teaching her techniques for pine needlers, “Basketweaving Essentials with Nadine Spier.”

This is a professionally produced video, and it is a polished product. Two cameras are used, and that means we can see both Nadine’s lovely face and close-ups of her skilled hands. Wonderful!

She begins by describing the materials; not only pine needles, but other materials that can be grown or found and used to make baskets. The list is enough to stimulate, but I note that the pine needles covered were those I consider “rare,” and not available to me in the Eastern US. No matter. With today’s internet, it is easy enough to find alternatives. Nadine highlights the materials she has best access to; who can blame her? Some of the pine needles she mentions are available for purchase on her website under “supplies.”

Nadine is an accomplished and confident teacher. Her delivery is smooth, and filled with examples and explanations that make the technique easy to remember. Having coiled, myself, for over ten years, I was pleased to learn new tips and see how a master teaches, and admit there are tips and tricks here I want to experiment with.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may know that I am all for finding your own way to coil. One of the things that all basketweavers struggle with is repetitive motion injuries. To make coiling ergonomic, and to make it faster and easier, I advocate putting the needle into the work from the front. But Nadine, in her own unique way, manages to make BOTH sides of the basket “the front!”

She also advocates using specific hand positions and carefully teaches these in a precise way that appears quite successful. If you have ever seen work by one of Nadine’s students, it is obvious that her techniques work very well.

This DVD covers: selecting and preparing materials for coiling, items that can be used for the center of the basket, setting a cabochon for coiling, starting on the cabochon, several stitches (including a wrapped coil,) transitioning between stitches, setting beads between rows, finishing the basket, and starting on alternative centers.

Nadine’s style typically features set-in semi-precious stones, wrapped rows and floating coils. Of these three elements, only the floating coil is left for another DVD. (Which I understand is coming…)

The DVD is broken into “chapters,” which means not only is the information organized in a clear and understandable way, but since you can select scenes from the menu, it is possible to stop/start without going through areas that you have already covered. Don’t you just love DVDs? Nadine’s fabulous sculptural weavings are shown throughout between “chapters.” There is also a “gallery” section with even more of her unique pieces. Definitely inspiring!

As this is a DVD, it requires a DVD player/TV combo, or may be played on your computer if you have a DVD player. It will not work in a CD player in a computer. I found it much easier to see the close-up work on my computer than on the TV. (If you are SURE you have a DVD player in your computer and it STILL won't play this DVD, you probably need a MPEG2 player. I did. Try the free download of Media Player Classic at filehippo.com . At less than 2 MB, it downloaded fast, and is "no frills," but it worked beautifully for me!)

I am confident that you will enjoy adding this DVD to your library, even if you are an experienced coiler or teacher. It is available on amazon.com, or through her website, http://www.nadinespier.com/ , and costs $39.99. There is a free clip of Nadine’s DVD on her website, check it out!

If you have a new basketmaking instructional media, like a book or DVD, I am happy to review it for you. Please contact me by email for address to send a non-returnable copy for review!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Special for Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Some stores are open for Black Friday shopping now even on Thanksgiving! Amazing! Not out shopping? Maybe you already have been, but are back home? No need to feel left out!

All this weekend, now until Tuesday, November 30th, I will be having a special sale in my Etsy shops:



10% off to blog readers, all items included. This includes items already on sale. To receive this sale, you MUST enter a coupon code when you purchase your item(s.) When checking out, enter the code: ireadyourblog

Your 10% will be automatically deducted before you pay!

Happy Black Friday! Hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ready for Thanksgiving?

It's coming right up! Have you woven a cornucopia yet? They are fast and fun, and oh so sculptural! You still have time! You can do it, i know you can!

Why not try Susi Nuss' free online tutorial? Susi has coded us a great FREE pattern! Susi has lots of great features on her website, basketmakers.org and while you are there, make sure you click on the ads on the edges, that's how she supports her basketmakers.org site...your clicks are pennies of appreciation! (It's THE go-to site for basketmakers, you know.)

For weaving the cornucopia, you can use reed, or try gathering vines from your yard. (Make sure you know what is poison ivy, though!) You won't need to soak green fresh vines, and they will shrink a little, but oh what fun! This cornucopia was woven with wisteria, some of which was split and appears white; and Carolina Jasmine. I left the leaves on the jasmine, and they will wilt and then dry, and form lovely textural interest. Both vines have tiny roots tendrils that give lovely textural accent as well.

Then fill with gourds, vegetables and fruits, nuts, cranberries (here is a how-to for filling) and have a great holiday!

After Thanksgiving, don't put it away (if it is green, it will still be drying!) Try filling with candy or maybe little wrapped presents, holly leaves or silk poinsettia leaves...the possibilities are endless!

If you don't want to weave one yourself, i still have a few in my etsy shop, ready to ship!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Navigating an Etsy Shop

Tried shopping on Etsy yet? (It's pronounced like "Betsy," without the "B!") Etsy is THE PLACE to buy handcrafted online! You can also find supplies for your artwork, as well as vintage articles there. Check it out! Etsy has something for everyone. Navigating, well, they have been working on making it easy. Maybe it is not so intuitive, and you could use a few tips on finding what you want! Let's take a look at some of my shops and I will point out some things on getting around.

This is what a shop looks like. You can click on any of these photos to make them larger.

Scrolling down to the bottom of the page, you might notice there is alot of stuff for sale in this shop....28 pages as of this writing, to be exact, which converts to over 600 items!
Oh my goodness, how do you look at it all? There are a few ways to zero in on what you are looking for. Try checking the shop's sections first. Sections are on the upper left side of the shop. Most people want to know what is on sale first. You can click on the "sale section" link, and it will bring up the sale items.

You can also choose from two different views to look at the list...either the thumbnail view, which gives you relatively large pictures and just a little text, like this:

Or the List view, which gives you smaller photos, but all the title.

To switch between views, use these little symbols on the right side of the page, near the top

Still have too many things to sift through? Try sorting by price. On any page, you can show the lowest priced items first, by clicking on this little sorter.

There are more ways to sort through a shop. Say you have some great aqua thread, and want to make a basket with it, but need a base. You can search my shop for "aqua." Go to the top of the page, and type "aqua" in the search box. You MUST be on the front page of the shop or "shop home."
Type "aqua" in the search box, and make sure the dropdown menu on the left has "this shop" selected. Then hit "go" or just your enter key. The resultant search gives you everything labeled "aqua" in the shop! (You can then sort for lowest price, as I showed you before, also!)
If you want to find bases with cat motifs, or dragonflies, you can sort for them the same way!

To buy on etsy, you will need to register (but it is really easy.) Once you have registered and started buying things, you will want to learn to leave feedback. Feedback is your way of telling how your experience has been with each seller. It is very important to sellers to have positive feedback. To leave feedback, choose "your etsy" from the top of any page.

The left side of "your etsy" is where you find record of your Purchases, feedback, favorite, where you can enter a profile about yourself and upload an avatar, stuff like that.If you choose "Feedback," you will be able to enter feedback about others with whom you have transacted, and see the feedback they have left about you.

I hope this makes it a little easier to find what you want on etsy. Let me know!

I have four shops on etsy.
My bazketmakr shops carries finished baskets and my art cards.
PurpleToedGypsy has woven wearables - like horsehair charms on necklaces.
MakeABasket is a basket supply shop, featuring ceramic bases for coiling and kits.
LizardSkins is a destash shop, it has mostly blank white clothing for dye/paint and vintage items. Visit soon!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Happy Autumn!

The Fall Season has been here for a few weeks now. Are you weaving Autumn baskets?

Wild Mushroom baskets
Wild Mushroom Basket bases and beads (for coiled baskets)

Fall vine baskets for decorating and weddings.

Fall foliage basket bases for coiled baskets

Forest Floor Basketry Bases for Coiled Baskets

Make your own great cornucopia basket from vines, or let me do it for you!

Happy Autumn!