Wow, it always takes me weeks to get ready for convention, and then weeks to recover, as well! What fun it was! I did not take enough pictures! I never got photos in the Exhibit Room, i am sorry to say...so you will have to wait for the "official" photos on the NCBA website...coming soon (I hope.)
One of the things that really made this a wonderful convention was seeing Vladimir Yarish again...about every four years, he will make it to NCBA from Novgarod, Russia, where he lives. Vladimir makes the most wonderful birch bark and spruce root baskets, harvesting the materials himself from the woods in Russia. This year, Vladimir was the recipient of the Extraordinary Natural Basketmaker award, sponsored by the Natural Fibers Group! That's the big ribbon (and the basket that won it) in his left hand. Congratulations, Vladimir! His work shown in Exhibit this year ranged from huge art pieces to tiny 1" woven animal figures. Wow!
This year, I only taught one class (thank you to all the wonderful weavers who took it!) And so there was time for me to take classes as well! Joy! I took two willow classes (my very first willow classes,) one with Sandy Whalen, and another with Bonnie Gale. What marvelous teachers they are! That is the basket I made in Sandy's class, at right. I was very happy with all the different techniques used, I learned some interesting ways to do French Randing, and a lovely wrapped handle. Most impressive was Sandy's amazingly organized willow bundles, sorted by colored rubber bands, with color-coded instructions! It must have taken forever to prepare for class (with all her home grown willow!) The material was beautiful! I am using this little basket to carry my pottery projects back and forth to the studio.
The second willow basket I made was a traditional Scaithog, or Irish Potato Basket. Bonnie tells us this is a traditional basket made with green materials, and used for straining and serving boiled potatoes! Wonderful! It was a relaxing and fun class for sure. Bonnie made sure to bring a variety of willow types for us to try and we all made stripey baskets, which served also make them more individually unique. Here is a photo of me weaving, and one of Bonnie and me with the finished project. Bonnie is another amazing person, she has so much education and does so many things other than weaving, including landscape design. It was so fun listening to her talk!
I love my willow baskets, and am looking forward to learning the techniques i learned when i weave with naturals here at home!
I also had a chance to take a flat reed class with Venie Henson...not my normal cup of tea. But Venie has so many wonderful new ideas, and uses such great color in her baskets, i just knew i would find many things to inspire me in taking her class. I was right!
Venie has a degree in fiber arts, as a weaver, and so loves color and techniques. The basket i made in her class will be my new Easter Basket, don't you think? If you were in the class, you might see the little "twists" and one big mistake I made...but most of you will not notice them. It is so fun to do things that are different from what we normally do!
The last class i took was with Peggie Wilcox, it was bullrush over cedar, with just a touch of maidenhair fern. I love these materials, they are so wonderfully pliant. My basket came out very different from everyone else's because of course i changed it...So much fun!
Teacher's Market was a little slow for me this year, though i had a full table. What do you think? Should i thin things out for next year? Thanks to Nancy, Linda and Carol, who helped me set up! In this photo, I am also wearing the little smock given by the Coordinator to those who helped with convention, thanks Jeanette!
Watch the NCBA website for more photos of convention, including exhibit room photos!
The Mountain Speaks - Ruth Andre
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