May / June 2017 Newsletter

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Basketweaving Essentials DVD

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.
Julia Cameron  

Dear Readers,

This newsletter is going to be about creativity.  I'm going to be sharing a few stories and images showcasing some people's very creative imaginations . The first one is about Vertical Tree Buildings.
Innovative  architect Stefano Boeri definitely thinks "outside the box."  He decided to address the issue of severe air pollution by creating vertical tree buildings.  He considered how to combat poor air quality in cities where there's hardly room to plant new trees. The answer - you build a forest straight up into the sky! The "forests"  are actually towers covered in greenery.

Boeri has already created Vertical Forest Buildings in Milan and will soon be building his third complex, the Nanjing Vertical Forest in China. It will have 1100 trees from 23 local species, covering 60,000 square feet of plantable area. The architect says it will provide 25 tons of CO2 absorption each year and will produce about 60 kg of oxygen per day.  Each tower houses trees between three and six meters tall which help mitigate smog and produce oxygen. It is also used to moderate temperatures in the building in the winter and summer.  And of course I couldn't help but think of all the birds who now have homes.  
That's what the world needs - more people thinking creatively and meeting current challenges with bright, new ideas. Here's some links if you'd like to learn more:

Pulling out stitches
A creative idea offered by one of my students, Ivy Howard: When you need to pull out a stitch, use a Nut Pick. It has a slender tapered tip perfect to slip under stitches....and that way you won't be bending your sewing needles by using them for this task!

String art 
I recently learned that the string art from the 1960's has undergone a radical revolution.  Some artists are working with single threads and thousands of nails to create phenomenal images. And I thought coiling was tedious! I can't imagine doing this!
By Kumi Yamashita

By Zenyk Palagniuk

You can watch the process on this shortened video of a rtist Zenyk wrapping 24 kilometers of thread to create an amazing portrait!   


Another item I thought my readers would find interesting is a deluxe resort,, where guests dine inside massive baskets!  


Came across this very innovative basket by Al Cimochowski on Facebook. It immediately put a smile on my face and I hope it does yours! Al was kind enough to give his permission for me to share it.

When I first saw the next image I assumed it was cast bronze. I was certainly surprised when I learned artist Chris Maynard painstakingly carves feathers into remarkable art.

In my monthly home workshops I frequently have regulars who come to continue to learn advanced techniques. One student, Linn Copen-Espinoza, would touch our hearts with her stories about making "memory baskets" for friends who had lost a loved one by incorporating something very personal and special to the deceased.  The following poignant article is written by one of the students, Marion Swain Bailey, about Linn:

Linn has always been involved in a myriad of creative endeavors, but when she began her journey in Pine Needle Basketry, taking her first class with Nadine Spier, it led her down an even more rewarding path than she could have anticipated. When Linn's dear friend Marge passed away from breast cancer, Linn came across a pin belonging to her. In pain from the loss of her friend, Linn began her first "Memory Basket" as a catharsis and an act of love. She incorporated her friend's pin into the basket, filling the hours with memories of Marge, bringing her a sense of peace, and creating something that would make her smile whenever she passed by Marge's Memory Basket."  Since that time, Linn has made baskets or sculptural pieces for others who have lost loved ones, always placing something that belonged to them into the piece. Her goal is to always make the survivor smile when seeing the basket with something that the person loved incorporated, and thus in a certain sense, giving it new life. Linn has said that she feels a spiritual presence, almost as if the person's spirit guides the creating of "their" Memory Basket.


The following "affirmation" from The Daily Word may be a bit too spiritual/religious for some of my readers, but I thought it fit in with this newsletter's theme of Creativity.

"Not only am I a unique creation, I am a channel for Divine creative energy.

In the beginning of any creative process there is a void. When I turn within, I prepare the way to fill that void as I receive new ideas, perspectives, and insights.

No matter how many times I go through the creative process, moving from vague thoughts to focused ideas, from nothingness to abundance, from anxiety to creativity - it is a miracle each time. There is no end to the Divine's creativity expressing through me."

My June 4-10 class at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is rapidly approaching. It's almost full but there's still room for a couple more students.  I can hardly wait to return to that historical campus and teach students for 5 ½ days. There is so much I will be able to teach during that amount of time. Students will return home with lots of new skills and creative techniques to incorporate into their work. Some of the possibilities include freeform sculptural work, symmetrical baskets, mastering shaping, several innovative ways to start a basket, several ornate stitches, using beads, making handles, and much more. This class is appropriate for ALL levels. Click here for class information. 


From October 20-22, 2017 I will be teaching a workshop at the Pacific Northwest Art School in beautiful Coupeville, Washington. I will be teaching the same techniques that I will be offering at Arrowmont.  Click here for info. 

            Photo of Coupeville
I'm finally catching up to the 21st century and am starting to use Facebook and Instagram.  Feel free to "friend" me here

Also I would greatly appreciate if you could post on your own facebook page, or your local basket or weaving guild's facebook page, your comments about my instructional dvd's or the classes you've taken with me. Thank you!
There are 4 facebook pages (that I know of) that relate to basketry that are worth checking out.....

The Art of Pine Needle Basketry
Basket Guild Bulletin Board
Basket Art Guild
Basketweaving and Crafts

Here's a schedule of my home workshops coming up in the next few months:
May 27, July 1, August 12, October 28.  Time 10am - 4 pm. In these 1-day workshops both beginners and experienced coilers are welcome.  It's a mix of skill levels and I individualize my instruction to each student. Cost $55. To enroll contact me at or (760) 944-9369. Materials optional $37.  More info on my website
To anyone in Orange County, California, I will be teaching a workshop at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach on July 29.  Click  here for more info.

I will also be teaching at The Art Lounge on 101 in Encinitas
July 8     click here
August 5   click here

Tradition and Innovation in Basketry IX 2017 sponsored by the National Basketry Organization
Location: University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington 
Dates: July 18 to 23, 2017

A quarterly print magazine created to inspire and connect the contemporary fiber arts and textile community.
I subscribe to this magazine and look forward to each beautiful issue. Would highly recommend for inspiration, fascinating articles and exhibition opportunities. 

In this introductory class students will start a pine needle basket around a polished stone cabochon. The swirling stitch is taught with a unique method that lines up stitches on both sides of the basket, making the vessel attractive on the inside as well as the outside. Students also learn how to shape their basket and how to taper down and finish the final coil. The coiling method can later be used to weave other plant materials including sweetgrass, palm inflorescence and leaves from a wide variety of common plants. Repeat students are invited to attend to learn more advanced techniques as time permits.
The Art Lounge on 101  (Encinitas area) Choose from two dates:
July 8 click here
August 5 click here

July 29
Golden West Community College (Huntington Beach)


The home workshops are kept small to provide a generous amount of individual instruction tailored to each student's skill level and interest such as: Learning how to coil a basket, or for more experienced students, shaping of vessels, novel starts such as walnut slices or other objects with holes, beaded centers, fancy stitches (wheat stitch, diamond stitch, fern stitch, inserting beads between coils using the mariposa stitch) handles, teneriffe, lidded vessels, sculptural techniques, and much more!

Both beginning and experienced basket weavers are welcome. Show 'n Share is a fun part of the workshop, so please bring any baskets you've made to share with the group.

Since enrollment is kept small, early registration is recommended. Email Nadine to verify there's an opening, then send a check with a note specifying which class date you want to attend. Students are welcome to bring their own materials (pine needles must be washed and dried) or a started basket; supplies are always available for purchase in class.

Classes at Nadine's home
Encinitas, CA
To enroll (760) 944-9369

May 27
July 1
August 12
October 28
10 am - 4 pm $55.00
Basket Kits (optional) $37.00


Woven Through Time:  American Treasures
Through June 30
Arizona State Museum

Chapters:  Book Arts in Southern California
Through May 7
Craft and Folk Art Museum

California Fibers: Time 
Through  May 6, 2017
This juried invitational exhibit features the work of California Fibers members Linda Anderson, Charlotte Bird, Ashley Blalock, Carrie Burckle, Doshi, Gail Fraser, Polly Jacobs Giacchina,  Lynne Hodgman, Chari Myers, Kathy Nida, Michael Rohde, Mary Beth Schwartzenberger, Rebecca Smith, Cameron Taylor-Brown, Lydia Tjioe Hall, Peggy Wiedemann and Lori Zimmerman. 
Studio Channel Islands Blackboard Gallery
"22nd Annual Studio Arts Festival"
June 3, 2017
The Irvine Fine Arts Center hosts this annual art festival which showcases more than 100 Southern California artists and their original works of art, including ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, painting, photography, textiles and glass.   

June 24 - August 28 2017
"50th Annual Summer Sawdust Festival"
The Sawdust Festival will feature the fine art and craft of over 200 Laguna Beach artists. Media include hand-blown and fused glass, painting, jewelry, surf art, ceramics, clothing, textiles, wood and metal sculpture, scrimshaw, photography, and much more. Check out the website for more information and entertainment schedule.

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts
The festival's prestigious juried art show includes a wide variety of media such as paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more, all by 140 of Orange County's finest artists.  Also demonstrations and art workshops, art tours, live music, special events, on-site restaurants and more.
Pageant of the Masters
July 7 - August 31, 2017
This truly unique 90-minute theatrical performance where famous works of art are brought to life onstage as members of the cast take the roles of people in the paintings, accompanied by a full orchestra and narration. Everyone needs to go at least once!
Michelle Montjoy: River
Through July 9 2017
Michelle Montjoy collaborated with community members across generations and the county using large tabletop looms to knit using old t-shirts. Installed as an exhibition, the resulting flowing fabric forms embrace the connection of the many hands involved.
Oceanside Museum of Art
21st Annual Inter-Tribal PowWow
June 10 - 11, 2017
Events  include Blessing of the Arena, Gourd Dancing, Grand Entry, Inter-Tribal Dancing,
Contest Dancing

San Diego Festival of the Arts (Formerly La Jolla Festival of the Arts)
June 10-11, 2017
This event features nearly 200 artists in a stunning bay view setting of original fine art, entertainment and delicious cuisines, complemented with fine wine and craft beer as you stroll the turf of Waterfront Park. San Diego Festival of the Arts™ garners critically acclaimed artists from around the country for an elegant and high quality showcase. Guests will enjoy an exceptional dining experience from San Diego's favorite restaurants, sample San Diego craft beer, and experience interactive activities for the whole family.  Proceeds benefit adaptive sports and recreation opportunities for San Diegans with disabilities. Admission Fee. Discounted tickets can be purchased on-line

Rooted, Revived, Reinventer: Basketry in America
Museum of Art and Archaeology
Columbia, MO


May 27 - September 4, 2017
"Quilt National '17"
The Dairy Barn Arts Center is pleased to announce the 20th Biennial of Quilt National. The 20th international juried competition for new, innovative quilts will be held at the Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio (USA).  Following its debut in Athens, the Quilt National exhibition breaks up into traveling exhibits that circulate from coast to coast.


Through November 1, 2018
Native American Voices: The People Here and Now
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


The Contact:  Quilts of the Sierra Nevada
Through June 11
Bellevue Arts Museum
Tradition and Innovation in Basketry IX
National Basketry Organization
University of Puget Sound