Friday, February 6, 2009

Willow in Lunenburg 2005

In summer 2005, I stepped out of my life in Southwestern Ontario into a week where baskets were the main event.  I took a trip to picturesque Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to weave willow with instructor Heather Sanft and six classmates from faraway places such as Newfoundland, North Dakota and Hawkesbury, Quebec.  Two of us were Ontarians, only one student was from Halifax!

Heather is an experienced teacher who has studied in France and woven many commissions, including some for films.  She and husband, Dan, operate a pick-your-own blueberry business and the Lunenburg County Winery in Newburne, Nova Scotia.  She has planted willow on their farm including a living willow fence.  We were treated to a delicious meal there one evening and afterward we shopped in their wine and gift store!

Classes were run by the Lunenburg Seaside Craft School's Paulette and Bill Hackman who spared no effort to make our week a memorable experience.  We were cared for in every way, the week began with a reception for the class at their home where we met fellow students.  Lunches were catered and the food was first rate.  Our classroom on the third floor of the Lunenburg Academy offered a breathtaking view of the town and countryside beyond because the Academy is atop the highest point in Lunenburg.

Three baskets were taught:  an English fruit sieve in white peeled willow, a French casserole basket in buff willow and a Swiss berry basket in brown willow but we had the opportunity to make other baskets as time permitted.  Our Nova Scotia student wove five baskets that week!  I enjoyed weaving my baskets but had to keep them small so they would fit into my suitcase for the flight home.  Here's our week's output, not bad, eh?

It was wonderful to be a part of this group of basket enthusiasts and to watch each weaver as they created their projects.  Some had not woven a basket before and many had not woven with willow.  I highly recommend the Lunenburg Seaside Craft School and will certainly return to Lunenburg again to weave willow.

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