Black Ash Pack Basket Class- A Photo Documentory

     This past weekend April and I hosted a basketry class here at our place. It was a lot of fun and some really nice baskets were made.  Folks traveled from all over to attend... Michigan, New York, and Minnesota. It's great to watch as folks create these baskets with their hands from material that was tree just a week before, it's really empowering.
     We begin with some history and then a break down of the material, where to harvest, how to pound the splints from the log, basket design, weaving technique and how to finish it with a leather harness.  Ash is really one of the best materials around. It's light, strong and flexible, not many materials have all of these.
     I've had my pack basket for 14 years and I use it pretty hard. It takes abuse and keeps going. If something fails all you have to do is weave some more splints into it. Repairability is something of a rarity in today's manufactured products. Plus the beauty is when the basket is finally worn out (which is unlikely in my lifetime) you can set it back into the forest and it will return to the earth. 
     These folks have created something they can enjoy and use for their entire lifetime.

talking about materials
some baskets on display
my pack basket
April splitting splints
Jim splitting
Bryan cutting weavers
Dawn starting to weave
break time
partially woven up
weaving away
Aprils basket
Jim packing the weavers down
Jim cutting weavers
Dawn happily finishing up
April packing the weavers
piles of splints
Bryan carving his rim
waiting to the rim
green bending rim
working on the false rim
lashing rim in place
happy basket weavers

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