“Open your eyes to the possibilities around you!” Students in Jo Campbell-Amsler’s Natural Baskets: Grow & Weave class last week did just that by starting from the ground up, exploring a variety of natural materials that could be used for basketmaking. Using willow, bark, iris and daylily leaves, roots, vines, sticks and branches, several rib-style baskets took shape in students’ hands during this four-day class. Creating a basket from gathered materials embodies mindfulness. From the harvesting to the weaving to the enjoyment of using, these baskets continue to give back to the maker. Retaining their natural colors and sweet, grown-in-the-sun scent, they hold well-cultivated memories. Taking note of what’s around you and how you can incorporate it into your art, […]
Sievers willow family tree
Sievers and willow have a long history. We begin by going back to 1980, our second year, when Char TerBeest-Kudla offered the first class in basketry at Sievers. Focusing on willow, the class description read in part, “You will use natural materials found right here on our rustic, beautiful Washington Island. What you learn you put to use wherever you are.” Four students that first year quickly grew to 12 in 1981. One of those 12 students was Jo Campbell-Amsler, who became the Beginning Willow basketry instructor in 1991 and has continued to offer classes in willow since then. In Jo Campbell-Amsler’s 1993 Beginning Willow class, two of her students were Donna Kallner and Jacki Bedworth. 1993 Beginning Willow Basketry […]
June news and views
Each day feels more and more like summer with all the leaves and flowers out, stirring in the warm sunshine. Early this spring, a maple tree was transplanted just outside the Walter Studio. It seems to have taken to its new home quite well. We’ve had plenty of water to keep the new tree growing, but not as much as this tree has! Our new neighbors have opened as the Inn at Frog Hollow and are taking reservations. Welcome, Dan and Dawn Nelson! They join our next closest lodging neighbor, Jackson Harbor Inn, in our favorite part of the Island. The Washington Island Ferry Line will be expanding their schedule to eleven trips at day, starting June 11. In Sievers […]
A Natural Combination
It’s hard to imagine a nicer combination than combining willow and driftwood to make a basket! In Jo Campbell-Amsler’s class they did just that. These one-of-a-kind baskets took some planning, determining the best use of the driftwood depending on it’s size and shape and how it should be featured in the finished piece. With many options to explore, each student had the opportunity to create more than one basket during the four-day class (some went home with two or three baskets, plus prepared frames for more). Washington Island is blessed with many of nature’s gifts…willow and driftwood among them. We love the late-August wildflowers along the roadsides and in the fields, just one of those many gifts given. May […]
Beautiful, inside and out
Whether students were gathering willow from outside the Walter Studio to incorporate in their baskets or perfecting seam finishes inside their handmade garments, the finished pieces in both Jo Campbell-Amsler’s and Daryl Lancaster’s classes were beautiful, inside and out. As you can see, the willow in the Sievers patch has grown tall this year. Here, Ann and Stef are pictured in front of the tallest portion, approaching 9 feet. Some of this willow, along with the materials Jo brought for class was used to make a variety of rib-style baskets, trays, a creel and more, inspired by Jo’s own work. Willow basketry is just one beautiful way to bring the outside in! If the inside of your handmade garments are as beautiful as […]
Animal, Vegetable and Mineral…?
I guess you could classify the previous three classes that way with Navajo Weaving taught by Betty Glynn Carlson representing “animal” for the authentic wool yarns used, Natural Fiber Basketry with Jo Campbell-Amsler as “vegetable” for the willow, grapevine, Siberian Iris and Daylily leaves incorporated in all shapes of baskets and the Metalwork Jewelry Boot Camp with Kay Rashka as “mineral” for the sheets of copper, brass and silver as base materials. Some students brought back Navajo rugs started in (or finished from) a previous class and others started their first pieces. The steps along the way to a finished rug involve patience, thoughtfulness and perseverance. The many varieties of willow, barks, leaves and vines gathered here on the Island or brought by […]
As we get closer to the middle of September the first notes of fall have started to appear. Simple changes in the ways the clouds look, a few leaves turning, flowers reaching for the last bit of warm sun and more deer by the roadsides are all clues that in just a few weeks, we’ll be surrounded by glorious reds, yellows, golds and browns. Before that happens though, we plan to fully enjoy September! We’ve been “back to school” for several days with Betty Carlson’s Navajo Rug Weaving and Jo Campbell-Amsler’s Natural Fiber Baskets classes. The students are using simple elements of authentic wool yarns and gathered willow to create not-so-simple pieces. A version of this is posted in the Navajo Rug Weaving studio and we hope you […]
It’s August…and awesome
Our beaders have come and gone as have the fabric printers and dyers, inkle loom weavers and now we’ve just said farewell, or “until next time”, to Daryl Lancaster’s Garment Construction Intensive class and Jo Campbell-Amsler’s Natural Fiber and Willow Basket makers. Starting with much different raw materials, each class took home lovely finished pieces. We continue our awesome August starting today with Carol Anderson (look for “Knitting on Location” photos next), Lynn Schuster’s Coiled Basketry, Judy Hasheider and her quilters and then finishing with Deb Jones teaching the essentials and more to new spinners and dyers.