Traditional Basketry & Weaving Apprenticeship – Fall Winter 2019-2020



FALL WINTER 2019-2020

Join us for our fifth year of this program!

Update 11/12/19: We still have three spots left! Would love to have you join us, let me know if you have questions!

Dates: Nov 16&17; Dec 14 & 15; Jan 11 & 12; Feb 8 & 9; March 14 & 15

Saturdays 1-7:00; Sundays 10-4:00; Some optional field trips Saturday AM or Fridays. This schedule allows people to travel from a distance and spend the night nearby, for a full weekend experience. It also allows possible Saturday morning harvest opportunities.

Location: Fall City, WA  Scholars Garden Studio 

The winter moons are the time of honing skills, passing on knowledge and preparing for the harvest seasons to come. Cultures around the world used the stillness of the ‘Cold Time’ to use the materials harvested throughout the seasonal rounds to create beautiful and functional baskets for the coming harvests and journeys. The winter moons are also the time of harvesting for many plants best harvested while dormant- the roots, withes and barks of willow, hazel, cedar, cherry, and more. We spend one weekend a month during the fall and winter moons, the time of weaving, going deeper into this knowledge, getting together in between classes to harvest, fine tune projects and visit cultural centers. Class size is small, often with people returning year and year.

This is my 5th year teaching this course which I began in 2015 after returning from a trip from Ireland, working with master basketmaker, Joe Hogan, inspired to share what I’ve learned over the last 25 years of basketmaking. I received my first teachings as the wife of Haida master carver, Ralph Bennett-Goo-la’Slacoon, part of a long lineage of master weavers, including his auntie Delores Churchill, and Salena Perotrovich, his grandmother. I have since been gifted with many other teachings from rare and wonderful weavers around the world, and I’ve learned to love the threads that connect all of our cultures through the art of weaving with natural materials.

Each year I continue to hone my skills, seeking out new master weavers to learn from and share new knowledge. I always look forward to the many projects we can work on during this apprenticeship season. We work together to determine the projects we’ll work on, ones not typically taught in regular classes, with an emphasis on advanced techniques using cedar bark, root and bough; willow, rush, plant and wool fibers. We primarily study traditional techniques from the Pacific Northwest, as well as those from Ireland, Scotland and Spain, brought home from my travels and gained experience.

Last year we worked on these projects:

  • Inspired by visits to Irish and Scottish weavers, and the recent Fibers of our Land exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, BC we worked with wool and plant fiber projects. Wool is an often-overlooked traditional material here in the PNW, yet was a core cultural resource, obtained from ‘wool’ dogs, mountain goat, and plant fibers. We will work with dogbane hemp, nettle, wool and feather in our projects.
  • Wicker willow baskets incorporating the techniques of ribbing and Irish knot weave in the form of  harvest baskets. I’ve had many new teachers of the last few years including two weeklong workshops with Joe Hogan in Ireland, and traditional Spanish willow weavers in the mountains of Northern Spain and love to share what I’ve learned from them, and recently from Jo Campbell-Amsler master-weaver in the ribbed basket style.
  • Cedar bark baskets- these can be tailored to individual experience, with a focus on more advanced twine, overlay, and other techniques in incorporating beargrass, cherry bark, maidenhair fern, sweetgrass and more in the design elements.
  • Cattail, rush and sweetgrass baskets, following the traditions of the Pacific Northwest and European cultures. Focus projects will be flat bags, ‘purses’ and harvest/ tool baskets, with cross warp and open weaves. I have a particular love for cattail and encourage it’s use as an excellent, and sustainable basketry material.
  • Pine needle basketry if time and interest allows, we can explore more advanced techniques and form using the coil technique, incorporating other materials such as beads and feathers.

This year we can continue to explore some of the above, and I’d like to add more emphasis on weaving in these projects and techniques, if interested:

  • Northwest Coast Ravenstail & Chilkat weaving techniques- I had the privilege of working with Cheryl Samuel learning about this unique form of weaving, which uses basketry techniques of twining, using wool historically sourced from mountain goat and dog wool, plied with yellow cedar strands.
  • Backstrap loom weaving for straps- I have had time working with several backstrap loom weavers including Laverne Waddington, Rodney Owens and Maraid Sherry to understand the intricacies of this technique, used in cultures around the world.
  • Tumplines using the two-bar loom- This has been a research project of mine for several years now, and I would love to continue to explore the techniques associated with creating the colorful and strong straps used for carrying baskets on the forehead and shoulders, made from plant and wool fibers. In particular I’ve found a style using red cedar bark fiber I’d love to explore further with you.

This is a mentorship with Heidi Bohan- basketmaker, weaver, ethnobotanist and author/illustrator of ‘The People of Cascadia’, with over 20 years of experience and training under some of the premier master basketmaker’s of our time, each well-known in the techniques and basketry traditions we will cover. We will focus on the traditional baskets and weavings of the Pacific Northwest and Ireland, covering the major techniques, embellishments and styles using wild-crafted native plant materials. Heidi continues to expand her knowledge and skills, now making sojourns to Ireland and Spain working with traditional basket-makers of these regions, bringing this knowledge home to share with her students.

This program is geared for people who have some skills with weaving and basketry, and preferably have already taken some classes with me. We have had complete beginners successfully take this course as well, but for some it was too much, too fast. Contact me directly if you are unsure, I will be happy to try to assess whether this is a good fit for you.

Where? Join me at my studio space in the Scholars Garden, an oasis along the Raging River in Fall City, and easy 30 minute drive off of I-90 from Seattle: near Issaquah, Bellevue, Redmond.

What can you expect? You will learn harvest timing and techniques, processing and storage of plant materials, and preparation of materials from wild-crafted plants. And you will learn a variety of core and advanced techniques to create fine traditional styled baskets and weavings. You will take home a variety of finished projects which you have designed and created from materials you have processed and prepared for your baskets.

 What experience is needed? This program requires some experience making baskets (or other hands-skills) enough to know you like it!  Ideally that you love it!  You do not need to be accomplished, or even all that confident, but know enough to accept that there is a learning curve and be willing to jump in! All classes will be scaled to various skill levels.

 What will we create? Baskets and other woven objects from willow, red cedar, rush and cattail, and other native and wild foraged materials; natural dyes and wild harvested materials to use to ornament these baskets.

Class fee: $950.00

Deposit $250 to hold a spot and I will contact you to get more information, fully refundable up to October 15, 2019.  Buy Now Button  (Paypal: you don’t need an account, just a credit card)  or contact me for other payment options.

Full payment due on first day of class, November 16th.

Questions?  Feel free to contact me with questions! I am best reached by email, and we can follow up with a phone call.

Some of my teachers:

Pat Courtney Gold
Pat Courtney Gold, Warm Springs/Wasco, specializes in twined Columbia River baskets, and is regionally and nationally recognized for her work in revitalizing Wasco/Wishram and other Columbia style baskets. I worked with her making cattail twined, open weave baskets and twined cylindrical baskets

Nettie Jackson
Nettie Jackson, Colville, (now passed on) renowned for her preservation of the techniques and creation of coiled and imbricated cedar root baskets housed in museums throughout the region. I had the rare opportunity to work with her for four days learning these techniques from her to make my first cedar root basket. it is from her that I primarily learned about proper harvest and processing of cedar root.

Eva Boydd
Eva Boyd, Flathead Salish, specializes in the full-turn twined sally baskets. Originally made from dogbane hemp, I was able to work with her sharing what I’ve learned about making dogbane hemp cordage while she showed me the techniques to start, twine and finish these strong, flexible baskets.


Cheryl Samuel, master weaver- ‘internationally acclaimed weaver, researcher, author and teacher, will forever be associated with the revival of Ravenstail weaving on the Pacific Northwest Coast’ I hosted her to teach my classes in the 90’s and spent many hours learning from her as she stayed  as a guest in my home.

Basketry Joe hogan with big round basket good
Joe Hogan- Willow basketmaker- 2015 weeklong apprenticeship course, 2017 three day followup course, in the Connemara region of Ireland learning the traditional Irish creel and other techniques,

Crios Mairead and Heidi

Mairead Sharry- Weaver from the Aran Islands, Innisheer, Ireland. She is one of the few people still making and teaching about weaving the Crios (kris) sashes, and I felt extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from her.

Other teachers include; Lisa Telford, former sister-in-law, Haida basketmaker;  Ed Carriere- Suquamish basketmaker; Rodney Cawston- Colville- twined cylindrical baskets; Rodrick Owen- Peruvian headbands; Laverne Waddington- Bolivian backstrap weaving; Jo Campbell-Amsler- ribbed willow baskets; Lise Bech- Scottish Willow basketmaker; Candido Presa and Seforino- Spanish traditional willow baskets

Contact: Heidi 425-549-0093;; PO Box 323, Shelton, WA 98584

4 responses to “Traditional Basketry & Weaving Apprenticeship – Fall Winter 2019-2020

  1. What is generally the youngest age you will accept?

    • Hi Leslie, This has been an adult course, geared for those with some basketry and weaving experience, but there are always exceptions. Some youth are very skilled and it might be appropriate. Please contact me by email so I can get a better idea and offer suggestions at thanks for your interest!

  2. Do you have any beginning weaving classes scheduled?
    Would love to know more…

    • Hi Susan, I just completed our Fall Traditional Basketry Series last weekend, which is ideal for beginning or refresher basketry students. I’ve had a lot of interest for beginning classes, so I will try to organize for some winter basketry classes. A good way to stay connected for updates includes signing up for my seasonal newsletter, and ‘liking’ my Gatherer to Gardener’ Facebook page, which is usually the first place I post information about registering for new classes on my website. Or just check back here on my website.

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