Weave a basket, learn a bundle at Rokeby

Willow, ash and oak are the common Eastern U.S. materials for making traditional baskets, and in each case there is a considerable amount of work in preparing the materials for weaving. But there are ways to use these and other wild materials in their fresh, raw state.
Join Catherine Brooks to forage materials from the woods at the Rokeby Museum and weave them into a simple melon basket that you’ll take home the same day. After this, you’ll be able to make more baskets on your own.
The first basket Brooks, the director of the Ferrisburgh museum, made was an ash splint basket 28 years ago. She and a friend used an article from Fine Woodworking magazine to lead them through the process.
“I’ll always remember the open magazine lying in the grass beside the ash log we were pounding in order to dislodge the growth rings in preparation of making the splints for weaving,” she said.
After that, she took a few workshops in Vermont and North Carolina, but Brooks said she is largely “book-taught.” Brooks has lead basketry workshops for adults and children in Vermont and used to sell market baskets at the Montpelier Co-op years ago.
So how does all this basket weaving connect to the Rokeby Museum? Well, they have a collection of Abenaki baskets that are made of ash splints and sweetgrass. The baskets that the workshop -goers will be making is based on the work of a Russian immigrant Brooks was introduced to in New York’s Catskill mountains in the 1970s.
There are six spots for adults and/or motivated teens. Participants will need to bring simple household tools and wear protective clothing. Cost: $60 per person. For more information and to register, email [email protected].

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