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WEDNESDAY WICKER WISDOM–Yet again this year, Willow Gathering organizers Jo-Campbell Amsler and Lee Zieke Lee, put on a fantastic week-long conference on willow basketmaking. It was held on the beautiful Luther College campus in Decorah, Iowa. Watch the video below that “Auntie” Donna Kalner made to document the festivities!

This gathering of willow basketmakers is the only one of its kind in the United States, focusing entirely on making baskets using cultured (farmed) willow rods. It has consistently drawn basket weavers from all over the country and Internationally, since its inception three years ago.

I had the pleasure of taking a three-day, black willow bark class from Kentucky basketmaker and instructor, Jennifer Zurick. She goes out on a canoe and harvests the black willow bark from the shores of small rivers and brought the materials almost completely prepared for us.

Jennifer Zurick willow basket instructor

Jennifer Zurick black willow basket instructor

This black willow bark is a material I’d never worked with before, so was somewhat a challenge for me to master. It’s a lot like cedar bark weaving and nothing at all like the willow bark weaving I did last year with Washington State basketmaker and instructor, Judy Zugish.

Black willow student class baskets

Zurick black willow student class baskets

black willow bark class photo

Jennifer Zurick black willow bark students

I’ll post more about the other classes I took, later this week. So stay tuned for more!

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