Arts4All Blog

Learn About CSMA's Basket Making Workshop

Posted October 30th, 2018  |  By A4A.admin

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CSMA is featuring four Art Workshops this December. Art workshops are an easy way to learn a new skill or try out a new art medium! We’re hosting a two-day Basket Making Workshop on December 6-7, hosted by instructor Charlene Chow. We spoke with Charlene to learn more about her background with weaving, and get an inside look at the upcoming workshop.

Charlene Chow, Art Workshop Instructor

Give us a little background on yourself. How did you get into basket weaving?

I first learned to weave from Consuelo Underwood, a Textile Art professor at San Jose State, now retired. She’s shown her work at the Smithsonian and has been on the PBS series Craft in America for her wall weavings on Indigenous rights and Mexican border control.
My husband and I lived in Vancouver, British Columbia for 2 years where I worked as an Exhibit Researcher at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia. In the evenings I was part of a group called the Urban Weavers.
I learned traditional cedar bark weaving from Todd Giihlgiigaa Devries, First Nations Haida cedar weaver. Sharon Kallis, environmental and social artist, lead the group and showed us how to gather invasive plant species at Stanley Park such as blackberry and ivy, guided us in preparation and weaving techniques. This group is now called the Earth Hand Gleaners and influenced me with the id ea of combining art to create community and ecological awareness while learning indigenous and ancient weaving techniques.

My weaving continues to be inspired by the high desert colors of Santa Fe where we lived for a year and a half, where my daughter was born. We’ve been fortunate to spend every summer there since her birth. I spent time taking weaving classes at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center and soaking up as many dramatic sunrises and sunsets as possible. To see more of my work and what inspires me, my Instagram account is @charleneeliz.

What can students expect from this workshop? What types of skills will they learn?

This workshop is an introduction to weaving a basket using basic coiling techniques. Coiling is an ancient form of basket making used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years. Students can aim to complete at least one basket or coaster.

Coiled basket made with raffia and seagrass

How do you describe your teaching style?

I create a relaxed atmosphere where students can enjoy the process, engage in the repetitive nature of weaving, and forget about the stresses of the day.

What types of materials will the students work with? Describe the types of baskets that students could make. Should students bring any of their own inspirations or ideas?

The first basket will be made with raffia and seagrass. If ready, the next basket can be yarn and cotton rope, or a new weaving style with the same materials as the first project. Once we get the initial techniques down, students can run with it and use their own found or purchased fibers they would like to weave with to experiment with color, texture, and shape.

Coiled basket made with yarn and cotton rope

Interested in the Basket Making workshop? Register here!

Tags: art school