Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 JoAnn Kelly Catsos Workshop

Thursday - Sunday, October 18, 19, 20, 21, 2012
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

I am so excited to be able to offer this workshop to make two beautiful baskets with JoAnn Kelly Catsos of Ashley Falls, MA. JoAnn has won numerous awards for her beautiful black ash baskets and in 1999 she was asked to weave an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree. She also was one of the first to receive the Certificate of Excellence Level I Basketmaking from the Handweavers Guild of America. JoAnn and her husband Steve produce all the weaving materials, hardwood rims and handles, and molds themselves. I hope you can join JoAnn and me for this exciting and fun class.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Lidded Knife Basket
8" long x 5" wide x 3" deep (without handle)

This beautiful basket is basked on a Shaker basket woven at Mount Lebanon community. The basket is woven of finely prepared black ash over a classic knife mold. The lid is woven in a modified quadrafoil twill pattern and completed with a sawtooth edge. Hardwood rims, handle and stretcher bar finish off this very challenging basket.


This is a three day advanced workshop
with quadrafoil twill experience mandatory.

Berkshire Backpack
2" deep x 2 3/4" wide x 4" tall
One of the newest additions to JoAnn’s line of beautiful baskets. Student will weave with finely prepared black ash splint over a multi-piece wooden puzzle mold to create this very small backpack. Insert the handle, lash the ash rims, install the skids to the bottom and buckle on the leather harness–just like a full-size pack. Due to the small size of this basket, patience and attention to detail is helpful.


Instructor: JoAnn Kelly Catsos

if you would like to receive registration information

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Wow, I can't believe I started this blog back on April 26, 2009. I can't believe it has been that long. I think this has done what I wanted it to do, be a more dynamic place for me to share basketry related information. I still have my website,, that is more a static gallery of my work and collection and my Facebook page, which is more for quick tidbits of information and quick sharing of information. But, the blog is where I can muse about this and that at a bit more length. Of course I don't post as often as I wish that I could, but boy does life get in the way a lot. I am impressed by people that are able to blog on a weekly, let alone daily, basis. I think I am pretty much busy all the time already, I don't know where they are able to squeeze the time out of.

Anyway, happy third anniversary (or is it birthday?) JASkets blog!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Basket Impressions

I have been having custom stamps made, with images of my baskets, for awhile now. After getting asked all the time I finally decided to start selling some of the stamps. I started with four basket images and added word/phrase stamps to make four sets of three stamps. I debuted them at the Stateline Friends Weaving Retreat this past weekend. They were well received and I sold out on two sets and only have four left of the others.

They are clear cling mount stamps and really have a lot of detail to them. Of course it depends on the type of ink you use. For a "grunge" look Distress Inks work great, but you will get a softer image. For word stamps I tend to not like to use Distress Inks, especially if the type is small or fine. Archival inks or Stampin' Up! ink work great too and give you really sharp images. It all depends on the type of look you are going for. Of course if you use Archival inks they will stain your clear stamps, but that doesn't harm the stamps or the impression quality in the least. 

I have been thinking about opening an shop and will probably go ahead and do that when I get a free weekend to set things up (along with a PayPal account). Of course I will need to reorder the stamps too!

If these continue to be popular I will probably add more designs in the future.

Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 Eric Taylor Workshop

Eric Taylor will be back in St. Louis again this July to teach three great classes. Two of the classes, the Cottage Purse and Cottage Jewelry basket are new designs, so I am excited to be able to offer them. Eric Taylor has been making traditional baskets and Shaker boxes since 1983 when he began an apprenticeship under Martha Wetherbee. 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 twenty years.

The Cottage Collection
Like a Shaker basket, all of the Cottage Collection are woven with hand-pounded black ash splint over hand-pounded black ash uprights, but like a Nantucket basket feature solid wood bases and nailed rims. Woven over a mold the baskets feature finely shaped cherry handles, notched and secured to the rims.

Saturday and Sunday,  July 28 and 29, 2012
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cottage Purse
7.5"(l) x 3.25"(w) x 5.5"(h w/o handle)

Monday,  July 30, 2012
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cottage Dresser Tote
10.5"(l) x 5"(w) x 5.5"(h)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cottage Jewelry
7.25"(l) x 8.5"(w) x 4.25"(h)

Workshop Fees

Cottage Purse    $245
Cottage Dresser Tote    $150
Cottage Jewelry$165

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, April 1, 2012

John C. Campbell Folk School - Shaker Box Workshop

I just got home from an exciting week at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, where I took a Shaker box making class lead by Lenton Williams. This is my 6th trip to the Folk School and my 6th time taking an incredible class. If you ever have a chance to get to Brasstown, jump on the opportunity.
The drive from St. Louis to Brasstown, takes you along the Ocoee river, which hosted kayaking competitions during the Atlanta Olympic Games. Depending on the time of year the damns may be open and you can find kayakers and white water rafters.
Once at the Folk School you are surrounded by nature and peace and quiet. This is a view from the back porch of the Keith House, the main dormitory and office building. I usually stay in this building since I opt for the cheapest housing option. Since you spend so little time in your room, the bunk house style living is really not a problem. This year they just remodeled the bathroom I stayed in, so the newly tiled floor and large shower stall was really nice.
The wood working studio is located just across the road from the Keith House, so is quite convenient. Every class I have taken at the Folk School has been in this building since the basketry studio is located on the back side. The wood shop is well equipped with a full range of high quality wood working tools.

The week begins with an orientation to the school, dinner and a trip to your studio and introduction to the class.
Bright and early on Monday we get started. Lendon demonstrated making the middle sized box of the nesting set of five boxes we will all start out with. The boxes are made by soaking a band of thin wood, in near boiling water for about 20 minutes, and then bending it around an oval core. The over-lap is marked and band removed from the core and taken to the vice.
The swallow-tails are nailed down with tiny copper tacks through pre-drilled holes. Care must be taken to make sure that the tips of the tack cinch over on the inside of the box while not splitting the wood.
Shapers are inserted into the top and bottom of the bands to maintain the shape of the box. The lid bands are bent around the formed box to create a custom fit. At this point the bands are placed into a drying box.
 Once dried the inside of the bands are carefully traced so that the solid lid and base can be shaped.
The lid and base plates are rough-cut on a bandsaw then final shaped on the disc sander. The table on the sander is tilted at three degrees to create a beveled edge so the plates are literally wedged into the bands for a super tight fit.
No glue is necessary on these boxes. The lid and base plates are held in place with tiny pegs. Holes are drilled around the edge of the boxes where the pegs will be inserted and cut off flush.
Lenton brought a wide selection of bands with the swallow-tails rough cut and pre-drilled for us to choose from.
Not only did we have a variety of sizes to choose from, we also had a variety of woods, including maple, cherry, walnut burl and curly maple.
On the first day we get right to work on our own boxes. The flat end of bands are thinned on the belt sander and the swallow tails are beveled with a sharp knife.
Buy the end of the first day I had my nesting set assembled and ready to be sanded and finished.
While the smaller boxes a single person can handle by themselves, the larger boxes require a set of helping hands. Here Lenton helps nail the bottom band of a large #8 box.
 The boxes are finished with a coat of oil and buffed with wax for a nice glow.
One style of box we had the option to make was a #4 swing-handled carrier. For this box holes must be drilled in the sides to accommodate a brass rivet to act as a hinge.
I made my carrier out of cherry. The swallow-tail fingers are offset to allow for the handle to be centered while not piercing the copper tacks.
We also had the option of making our own set of cores, or forms to make more boxes once we returned home.
While the goal was to make eight boxes I ended up making 17, including not only my maple nesting set of 5 five, but also two large button boxes, two presentation boxes with curly maple lids, and three cherry and three maple round pin cushion boxes. Fortunately I had brought my wool fabric with me to make some of my embroidered pin cushions, so was able to make two simple Shaker style cushions for my new boxes.
On the last day of class at the Folk School everyone gets to see what everyone else was working on all week. Here is our class and the exhibit of some of our boxes.
Here are the individual boxes I made over my 5 days at the John C. Campbell Folk School.
On my previous five visits I have always taken a basket class. This session was on making traditional coiled sweet grass, pine needle and palmetto palm baskets. Their baskets turned out great. Guess that will have to be another trip to the Folk School for me.
Each morning's view was breath taking as the fog lifted over the mountains. I am already counting the months until I can get back to the tiny town of Brasstown, NC and the John C. Campbell Folk School.