Leona Waddell – 2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow

White oak ribbed basket in the hands of its maker, Leona Waddell.

NBO Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Leona Waddell has been named a recipient of a 2016 NEA Heritage Fellowship. The award is our nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts.

“A revered leader in the white oak basketmaking community, Leona Trulock Waddell is a master artist whose basketmaking skills have been perfected by her years of experience and exemplify the interaction of tradition and innovation, as she both maintains the traditional form of the region’s baskets and puts her own personalized evolving imprint on each one.”

NEA Profile on Leona Waddell

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The folk and traditional arts connect us with those long-established artistic traditions that honor our identities. The NEA National Heritage Fellowships highlight these artists who have worked to ensure that these artistic traditions will continue for generations to come.”

The NEA National Heritage Fellowships include an award of $25,000 and the recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony and a concert in Washington, DC, this September.

GH Productions – “Basketweaving is Serious Business!”

NBO members Beth Hester and Scott Gilbert are featured in an article in the Bowling Green Daily News, highlighting their 30-plus years in the field of basketry making and supplies.

“Scott Gilbert, his wife, Beth Hester, and their business partner, Mike Sims, have dedicated more than 30 years to promoting and preserving a sometimes overlooked aspect of local folklife while building a business that spreads awareness of the craft of white oak basketry and its significance in the region.”

The full article can be enjoyed at Bowling Green Daily News.  Photo credit: Austin Anthony

Lindsay Ketterer Gates at the Fuller Craft Museum

NBO artist Lindsay Ketterer Gates piece, “Stigmata”, is featured in the Summer issue of Fiber Arts Now magazine. “Stigmata” is now on exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.

“2016 will be a pivotal time in the United States: a watershed moment in the divide of our national political system. Racial tensions, religious freedom, women’s health and reproductive rights, equality in the work place, gender equality and L.G.B.T. rights are all vulnerable to dramatic changes – both good and bad. The Faces of Politics: In/Tolerance asks artists to examine, on a personal level, how their creative vision is influenced by the current political unrest – locally, nationally, and on a global scale.”

The Faces of Politics: In/Tolerance at the Fuller Craft Museum through August 21, 2016.

Above: Lindsay Ketterer Gates, Stigmata (detail), 2015. 25” x 14” x 6” (each half). Stainless steel mesh, plastic guns, coated copper wire, paint. Photo: John Sterling Ruth.

Sue Fedenia at The American Craft Exposition

NBO basket artist Sue Fedenia has been notified of her acceptance to the 2016 American Craft Exposition held at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, from September 23 through the 25th. This will be the 32nd year of this highly competitive juried show and sale of fine handcrafted artwork and collections from the country’s leading craftspeople. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Chicago greater metropolitan area’s NorthShore University Health System.

Sue will also have four baskets in, “Pushing the Boundaries”, a basketry invitational at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming, in March and April of 2017. She will be on-site at the Brinton Museum on Saturday, March 18, 2017, to demonstrate how she makes her baskets.

Kathey Ervin at the Washington State History Museum

Congratulations to NBO member Kathey Ervin for the beautiful display of her work at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Washington. The exhibit, In the Spirit – Contemporary Native Arts, is held annually at the Washington State History Museum. The exhibit features artwork in a variety of mediums, including paintings, prints, sculptures, weavings, and mixed media pieces.

Shown – work by Kathey Ervin. Photo by Jette Monahan.

Jill Nordfors-Clark in International Triennial of Tapestry Exhibition

Jill Nordfors Clark traveled to Lodz, Poland in May with Friends of Fiber Art for the opening of the 15th International Triennial of Tapestry exhibition, at the Central Museum of Textiles, May 9 to October 30, 2016.

Jill was invited to exhibit her work  as one of five fiber artists representing the USA. The exhibition includes 150 works from 50 different countries.

Jill’s entry, When a Tree Falls in the Forest, was inspired by the words of Anglo-Irish philosopher Bishop George Berkeley, “When a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound?” The series of stitched lace like columns represents the ghosts of fallen trees, and the resulting scars on the land caused by clear-cut logging in the forests of the western USA and Canada.

More information at International Triennial of Tapestry (Select option to translate from Polish)

Work shown: “When a Tree Falls in the Forrest”, 6’ H X 5’ W X 4′ D, needle lace embroidery, hog casing, reed, acrylic paint, yarn

Karen Gubitz at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center

Karen Gubitz is the solo artist in the exhibition, Beyond Craft, on display now through June 10th at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center in Birmingham, Michigan.

Gubitz is a self-taught, award winning fiber and mixed media sculptor. Realizing that her passion lay in creating art, in 2011 at the age of 60, Karen retired from her law career to create art full time. Her work explores the expressive possibilities of combining natural and non-traditional materials with methods and techniques that have a deep and rich history in working with fiber – loom weaving, basketry, knitting, crochet, netting and knotting. 

Interconnections: The Language of Basketry

The works created by the twenty-two artists highlighted in the Hunterdon Art Museum’s newest exhibition, Interconnections: The Language of Basketry, include everything from stapled paper to fabricated metal. Some employ found objects, others utilize clay, linen, or wire.

Interconnections opens at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clifton, New Jersey,  on Sunday, May 15 with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. The event is open to all, and wine and cheese will be served.

“These artists employ basketry processes and concepts in dynamic and imaginative ways, challenging the common view of basketry as a utilitarian folk craft,” said Carol Eckert, NBO member and curator of Interconnections: The Language of Basketry. “Experimenting with techniques and materials — sometimes referencing ancient methods — they create works ranging from large-scale, site-specific works to wall pieces, sculptural constructions and vessel-based forms.” Other artists featured in the show are: Dona Anderson, Jerry Bleem, Charissa Brock, Ann B. Coddington, Emily Dvorin, Lindsay Ketterer Gates, Donna Hapac, Mieko Kawase, Jay Kelly, Heechan Kim, Nancy Koenigsberg, Tracy Krumm, Gyongy Laky, Jo Stealey, Gina Telcocci and Ann Weber.

More information, including exhibit hours, directions, and events can be found at the Hunterdon Art Museum.

Shown above: “Big Fat Hairy Deal” by Emily Dvorin.

Jarrod and April Stone Dahl: Lidded Baskets

April and Jarrod Stone Dahl (Woodspirit) have a rich history of creating beautiful and utilitarian objects for everyday use. Jarrod grew up in Ashland, Wisconsin, a small town on the shores of Lake Superior. He is of Scandinavian decent and much of his woodworking is inspired by those woodworking traditions as well as the indigenous woodworking methods of that area. April is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Ojibwe. She began weaving black ash baskets in 1999 after observing a basket Jarrod had made and was using daily as a lunch basket on a log building construction site. She was so impressed with how it held up to the daily abuse that the material earned her respect and she began weaving utilitarian baskets.

The couple takes time out to travel and teach, but, as Jarrod states below,  have recently taken on an interesting research project:

“Over the years, every once in awhile, April weaves one of these lidded baskets. They have a very interesting history on the East coast of the US. They were made by the Schaghticoke, Mohegan, Pequot, Narragansett, Wampanoag tribes to name a few. For generations there has existed a basket weaving tradition among families within the tribal groups in the East. If you do a quick internet search you will find a few of the main families.”

“The shape and proportions of this basket is pretty true to the older designs and styles from 1900 and early. There doesn’t seem to be much of this style here in the midwest with the Winnebago, Ojibwe, and Odawa. If there was it’s been hard to find. Today most folks are making the fancy lidded baskets that have round bottoms and are made with dyed splints. The older forms April likes have square or rectangle bases and are made from natural or un-dyed splints. Many of the old baskets were stamped with decorations and April intends to try that on a few of these over the next few weeks.”

April is really inspired by the old lidded boxes. She says they are a challenge to do right. Getting the sweet proportions between the uprights and the weavers is a very subtle thing. When done well the basket really sings, when just a little off the basket kinda just sits there. Weaving a lid that fits just right is not something that can be rushed. The lids take some careful planning, a high level of understanding of the materials and skill to get it right.”

Next month April and Jarod will leave their home in Wisconsin and set out on a 3 week trip to visit museums and collections the Eastern United States. April was recently awarded a fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

“For her Regional Artist Fellowship, Stone-Dahl will create the pieces as a tribute to the dying Black Ash tree and also plans to research more about Ash basket weaving from other communities, museums and collections outside her region with the hope of gaining more knowledge about the tradition not only for her work but also to teach her students and other eager learners.”

In addition, in June they will both be teaching at Greenwood Fest in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Jarrod Stone Dahl

Willow Resource Guide

The Winter 2015 issue of the Quarterly Review Magazine included a resource guide for willow materials. Download this free resource, and  visit our online shop to purchase a copy of this special issue!

Download your copy of the resource guide here:

Willow Resources

Willow Resource Guide