Willow Gathering 2015 Decorah, Iowa

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!

Willow Gathering 2015 Basketry in Decorah, Iowa

This gathering of willow basketmakers is the only one of its kind in the North America, 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.

Jennifer Zurick willow basket instructor
Jennifer Zurick black willow basket instructor

Harvesting this particular bark is quite labor intensive, as is the preparations of the materials.

Jennifer goes out on a canoe and harvests the black willow bark from the shores of small Kentucky rivers. And lucky for us, she brought the materials almost completely prepared.

Black willow student class baskets
Zurick black willow student class baskets

This black willow bark is a material I’d never worked with before, so was somewhat a challenge for me to master.

Jennifer has a calm and reassuring manner and set us all at ease immediately. She’s also very patient and her teaching skills are terrific.

The black willow bark is 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 bark class photo
Jennifer Zurick and her black willow bark students

As in years passed, I had a great time at the Willow Gathering and am looking forward to attending more of these wonderful events organized by Jo Campbell-Amsler ( https://willowridgebaskets.com ) and Lee Zieke Lee ( https://willowglennursery.com ) at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

wicker braid separator graphic

wicker braid separator graphic

~~ Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much ~~

Until next time, Happy Weaving!


About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top