Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pinterest Ideas

If you are like me, you like looking at all of the great ideas on Pinterest. Unfortunately many times it seems like the projects are completely impractical or worst, aren't even projects at all and just links to Google images so there are no instructions or any additional information.

This idea of using a restaurant style cheese shaker (or sugar dispenser) as a twine holder was actually one that needed no further instructions to make. I like using butcher's twine in my card making or for making tags, but between the cat going absolutely bonkers and the spool shooting across the table, I find it can be a test of one's patience. I had been on the lookout for one of these vintage restaurant wares for the last year, but had never run across one. I hit the jackpot earlier this summer when I found not only this cheese shaker, but also a sugar dispenser as well. Both looked like they had never even been used before.

While my big cone of red and while baker's twine won't fit (until I use up more of it), my other spools fit perfectly and keep the spool on the table and away from playful kittens. It made sitting in front of the TV tying strings to tags a pretty easy task. It also doesn't hurt that they look cool hold the twine too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Because, why not?

As you may have seen in my previous post, I am hosting a workshop with JoAnn Kelly Catsos this fall where we will be making mini Shaker utility basket. Many of the baskets the Shaker used in their communities were lined with fabric or even leather. The Shakers were fixated on cleanliness so a liner in a wood chip basket for example would keep the mess from small kindling contained and off the floor.

So, being the crazy person I am I decided that the little baskets we will be making needed to have little liners to match. The first challenge was to find fabric with a pattern the correct scale. I have lined some of my full-sized baskets with pillow/mattress ticking, so wanted to find something that would look like that. After wondering around the fabric store for a while and getting some confused looks from the sales clerks when I tried to describe what it was that I was looking for, I found some striped denim that looked promising.

Thank goodness for Project Runway as I have watched how the designers drape and fit their clothes to the mannequin. Really, I used what I learned from a reality TV show to help me with my crafts! After cutting and sewing and prototype, and fitting to the basket, I was able to make a pattern so I could make more.

My goal is to make these to offer as an option for the participants in the workshop. I am sending a couple samples to JoAnn to make sure they fit the baskets and if that goes well then I will start sewing away.

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 JoAnn Kelly Catsos Workshop

October 31, November 1, 2, 3, 2015
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ultimate Shaker Trio
Shaker baskets can be divided into two major groups, fancy work–small delicate basket sold to the World’s people (those outside of the community) and utility–sturdy baskets made to be used for daily chores of the Shaker brothers and sisters.

Join JoAnn to make this incredible trio of 1/4 sized classic Shaker utility baskets, the carrier, wash basket and wood chip. The baskets are woven of black ash over a wooden mold, and topped with hardwood rims and three different styles of handles, each unique to the use of the basket.

Shaker Carrier
4" long x 2.5" wide x 2" deep
A classic utility basket from the Mount Lebanon Community in NY. Baskets like these would have had a variety of uses in Shaker society. This one features feet woven into the corners and across the bottom to keep the contents off the floor and protect the bottom of the basket.

Shaker Wash Basket
4" long x 2.5" wide x 1.5" deep
Another classic design, baskets like these were used by the Shakers as wet or dry wash baskets. The pair of carved sides-handles made it easy to carry a heavy load of laundry from the washroom to the line or to store clean linens for ironing.

Shaker Wood Chip
4" long x 2.5" wide x 2" deep
A basket like this was a workhorse, it was used to haul kindling and small stove wood. The runners lashed to the bottom kept the basket up and out of the snow, and made it into a sled for sliding from the woodpile to the building.

Quadrafoil Medallion
6.5" diameter
This beautiful disc is a smaller version of the ornament JoAnn made for the White House Christmas tree in 1999. The quadrafoil pattern is woven of delicate 50/1000” black ash weavers and featured a fancy saw tooth rim. This basket is challenging so previous black ask and quadrafoil experience are mandatory.

Shaker Ultimate Trio and Quadrafoil Medallion

Class fees includes all materials, handouts and use of mold, weaving stand and tools.

Level: Advanced
These baskets are challenging, previous black ash and quadrafoil experience are mandatory.

Instructor: JoAnn Kelly Catsos

Contact: Tony Stubblefield
if you would like to receive registration information

Friday, May 29, 2015

Eric Taylor Workshop 2015 - recap

I can't believe it has already been a couple weeks since Eric Taylor was here teaching two great basket classes. It was a whirlwind visit, but many beautiful baskets were made and we ate some delicious food.

Unfortunately I was so busy working on my own baskets that I really didn't get all that many photos taken. Of course I don't know why that even matters since I am three years behind getting workshop photos posted to my website, I really need to drop some of my commitments so I can actually relax and maybe (call me crazy) weave some baskets more than three times a year. Seriously I only get to weave anymore the week I go to John C. Campbell Folk School and during the two workshops I host at my house. I do weave when I vend at the one or two basketweaving conventions (Stateline Friends Weaving Retreat and the Missouri Basketweavers Guild Convention), but I don't count them as I rarely actually finish the baskets I am demoing on my weaving stands.

Anyway, I thought I would share a couple photos from the workshop.

Here's my completed Smith River Creel. This basket was really a lot of fun to weave. I rarely ever weave without a mold anymore, so shaping this basket by hand made me nervous, but I think it turned out really well. I had heard horror stories about weaving the lid, but I actually found it to be a fun challenge. Of course most would call me a glutton for punishment.

This is my completed Mountain Bread Basket. It has a really interesting twill pattern on the two sides, which was also deceptively challenging. This basket, like all of Eric's is chase woven (so woven with two weavers), and I happened to have a light and and a dark weaver. So, my pattern alternates each row light/dark which makes it hard to see. Fortunately in a few years (or quicker if I put it in direct sunlight) the colors will darken and the difference will not be noticeable.

I did catch a few photos of Eric at work. Here he is putting the first four rim pins in for one of the participants. That way he makes sure the rims are nice and level before all of the other pins are inserted.

And finally, the class wouldn't be complete without a trip to Ted Drewes for a Concrete. On the last night Tina and I actually just skipped dinner all together and went back for a second one.

Sorry I don't have more photos to share, but you can see some more on my Facebook page if you like.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Eric Taylor Basketry Workshop

Eric Taylor will be back in St. Louis again this May to teach two great classes. Eric Taylor has been making traditional baskets and Shaker boxes since 1983. His love for working with wood and the black ash trees inspired him to experiment further in the art which lead to creating his own contemporary designs that combined the elements of the Shaker and Nantucket baskets. Eric has taught the art of basketry, nationally, for over twenty years.

Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, 2015
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Triple Diamond Wine Tote
10" L x 5" W x 13" H

Woven of brown ash, this distinctive basket features a decorative repeating twilled diamond pattern, and cherry handle, rims and base. On a personal note, this is the first basket I ever wove with Eric.



Smith River Creel
9.5" L x 7.5" W x 7" H

You don’t have to fly fish to love the Smith River Creel. This functional, yet decorative, basket is woven of brown ash with cherry runners and latch, and features adjustable leather straps.

Monday and Tuesday, May 18 and 19, 2015
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mountain Bread Basket
9" L x 9" W x 4" H

Woven of brown ash this multi-functional basket features an intricate twill pattern, and cherry side-handles, rims and base. Add a cloth napkin and a warming stone, and you have a great basket to serve rolls to your guests.

Class fees include all materials, handouts and use of mold, weaving stand and tools

Contact: Tony Stubblefield
if you would like to receive registration information

Sunday, March 1, 2015

John C. Campbell Folk School - JoAnn Kelly Catsos - 2015

So another wonderful week at the John C. Campbell Folk School and my class with JoAnn Kelly Catsos has come and gone. I just hate how fast the fun times have to fly by. This trip though I added on an extra day at the start and end, which made for two nice bonus days. The weather was a bit dicey this time too, so the extra day at the end helped miss driving home in the snow.
Even with the iffy weather many beautiful baskets woven. We just didn't take any extra time walking to and from the basket studio and the dining hall.
My Mom asked for a monopod for Christmas so she could take sunset photos on the beach, but I accidentally got her a selfie-stick instead. So, my mistake was my gain and my torment to my fellow basket weavers.
I wove four intricate miniature baskets and finished up a few others that I brought with me that needed to have their rims lashed. Every year I give my Dad a basket for Christmas, so this past Christmas I had planned on giving him a Birkshire Backpack. I had made one a few years ago when JoAnn Kelly Catsos and planned on making on making a second one for him. Of course I didn't get the second one done, so I had to give him mine. I finally had time to reweave it. JoAnn's baskets are so perfectly proportioned that in photos it is hard to tell how big they are. This shot of the business card sized basket in the snow would almost make you think it was a full-sized pack.
While I have woven so many of JoAnn's baskets I had never made Steve's Fishing Creel. I just need to attach the tiny hand-tied fly and fleece to the basket and it will be complete.
This lidded cathead has always been one of my favorite Shaker designs and one I have woven in many sizes. This 2.5" version is by far the smallest and the most challenging, but well worth the effort.
This is a 4" version of JoAnn's Snowflake bowl, but with dyed stakes. I just love this pattern and love the contrast of the white weavers to the chestnut colored stakes and rims.
If you have been to the John C. Campbell Folk School or you have read my posts about my trips there you know that on the last day they have a "show and tell" where everyone gets to share the accomplishments from the week. It is always so exciting to see what has been going on in the other studios (I never seem to make it out of the basketweaving studio).
Here's a picture of my four completed baskets.
And here is a picture of our happy class. The weather may have been frightful, but inside it was so delightful.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Look what I just stumbled upon. I guess I took these photos last year, but because the materials are perfectly scaled I didn't realize when I saw them that they weren't old photos of my full-size versions.

Both baskets were made on the same 3"x4" mold in 2014 at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Half-scale black ash tatting basket

Quarter-scale black ash wood chip basket