Kathey Ervin

In the springtime, when the woods are once again awakening, the rivers are running high with snow melt-off, and the sap is rising in the cedar trees, I experience an inclination, handed down to me by my ancestors, to go gathering.  I clean, bundle and do my own ‘putting up’ of product (barks, grasses, sedges and rushes) for the year ahead.  This inclination could be explained by all the stories I grew up with about the hunting and fishing and ‘putting up’ of wild meats, fruits, nuts and berries my ancestors did for subsistence.    Soetsu Yanagi – founder of the Japanese folk movement said,

“The world in which we live contributes to our success – abundant natural resources, a long tradition, repetition of effort and the fact that articles were being made for daily use all combined to assist…”

My baskets reflect the bond I have with the Pacific Northwest.  It is the source from which all of my materials come, including the inspiration I derive from the strength of its visual impact and integrity of its natural resources.  Renewed inspiration is drawn yearly from the ever-changing woods, mountains, rivers, beaches and the agricultural lands of the Dungeness Valley.  Linear fields of hay and grain, architectonic and figurative barns and silos translate through my eye into vessels.  The basket creation process evokes a sense of creative wonder – in the usages of color, texture, contrasts, pattern and shapes – echoing the rhythms of nature.  To quote Yanagi,

“Pattern is born when one reproduces the intuitively perceived essence of an object.  It is a picture of the essence of an object…a summing up of nature”.

There is a familiarity in weaving a basket. Starting from the base, weaving around and around as the form builds and takes shape, always aware of the strength and integrity within the fiber and grain of the bark material which, when woven, create a rhythm. It is reminiscent of my years at the potter’s wheel where I was always striving for elegance of movement and gesture.  My background in ceramics (MFA Ceramics – University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, 1983) has had a strong impact on my basketry work in that it strengthened my understanding of what vessels represent to me in the figurative, architectural and emotional sense.

Both processes – weaving and throwing – depend for their results on quality of material and workmanship.  In a physical and traditional sense, both art forms depend on cohesiveness and a structural ability able to withstand gravity and the tests of time.  With respect and preservation of honor for the traditions of the past, there are unlimited possibilities for immersion in innovation. . .

Kathey Ervin
281 Mantle Road
Sequim  WA  98382










ANIMAL FETISH CONICAL HAT – hat includes turtle, deer, frog, wolf, beaver, bear.

Materials:  Western Red Cedar Bark, Alaskan Yellow Cedar Bark, Artificial sinew (black, red, green)

Size: standard hat size











Materials:  Western Red Cedar Bark, Alaskan Yellow Cedar Bark, Artificial sinew (black, red, green)

Size: standard hat size











Materials:  Western Red Cedar Bark, Alaskan Yellow Cedar Bark

Size: standard hat size









BACKPACK – (two sizes)

Materials:  Western Red Cedar Bark, Alaskan Yellow Cedar Bark


“The Garden Art Show” Arts Council of Snohomish County, Everett, WA June 2000 &2004

“The Uncommon Basket” ArtsWest Gallery, Seattle, WA December 1998



“Tradition and Innovation in Basketry VI” 6th Biennial National Basketry Association Conference Stonehill, MA August 2011

“Cross Currents” Convergence 2002 Vancouver – Textile Tides,August 2002

“Baskets Now: USA” Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas, January 2002

Edmonds Arts Festival” Regional Competition, Edmonds, WA June 2001,2002,2003

Festival of American Basketry”  National Juried Competition  Amana Colonies, IA  April 2001

“All Things Considered”   International Competition. Gattlinburg, TN  Oct 99



Edmonds Arts Festival Juried Award Winner, Edmonds, WA June 2003

Basketmakers Choice Award, NWBW Spring Retreat at Pilgrim Firs March 1998-1999

Grant Recipient, National Endowment for the Arts Oct 86

Fellowship, Creative and Performing Arts University of Illinois 1981-1983



National Basketmakers Organization – 1999 – 2012

Northwest Basket Weavers Guild, Washington – 1995 – 2012

Columbia River Basketry Guild, Oregon – 1995 – 2012

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