In August 2016 I journeyed with seven other professional basket makers to France and Denmark taking classes with Ane Lyngsgaard and Eva Seidenfaden, two outstanding women, weavers and teachers. They both hosted us in their enchanting homes, guided us to two amazing basketry festivals, one in Vallabregues, France, the other in Denmark, and made sure we all enjoyed a most memorable life experience. The variety, quality and richness of European basketry on display at the festivals was a stunning discovery for me and the whole two week traveling and learning experience an absolute delight! Our lodgings ranged from a beautiful country farmhouse to a medieval village home in the south of France and Ane's astonishing old dairy factory turned home and studio to Eva's exquisite estate in Denmark. I worked with cultivated willow bark (different from the wild willow bark I use in my baskets), rush and iris leaves. I loved the softness of the damp leaves in my hands and look forward to experimenting more with those fibers.
I recently won the Bronze Award at the 2017 Smithsonian Craft Show. Pretty exciting!
Back home enjoying the spring garden now and preparing to teach a June Workshop in Portland, Oregon for the Columbia Basin Basketry Guild. Another workshop is scheduled for the Los Angeles Basketry Guild in fall of 2018.
I have two gallery exhibits scheduled for the summer and fall (see Events), but with no additional shows the rest of the year, I'm looking forward to focused studio time to continue a new body of work....large, sculptural pieces that express the unique spirit and qualities of willow bark.
Willow Bark Weaving Class by Billy Ray Sims