Fall 2020 Newsletter
Quote for the month

I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life - whoever you are, whatever our differences.

John Denver

Dear Readers,

Thank you to all my readers who reached out after receiving my last newsletter. I was blessed by so many people who extended kindness, compassion and empathy over my losses and difficulties this year. It really touched my heart, thank you. I always knew basketweavers were great people!

I know everyone is suffering right now, to different degrees, with Covid and fires and hurricanes and more. My prayers are with all of you.

In February my website will be coming up for renewal and the assorted fees are quite enormous, so I will not be renewing. My email info@nadinespier.com will no longer be valid. Please update your records to nadinespier55@gmail.com.

If you've been looking for a source for soft, fragrant sweetgrass to coil in your baskets, I would like to recommend Avalon Farms Sweetgrass

I've had the pleasure of knowing the owner, Brenda Gordon, for many years. After living in California for a long time, she returned to her family farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to work the land. Her sweetgrass is a delight to coil, the aroma easily transporting you to the outdoors, to pastures and nature. It's a wonderful material to work with, long, flexible and deeply fragrant. She sells bundles after thoroughly drying the grass in a barn, hence the bundles will still be green since they weren't exposed to sunlight. Keep in mind that as time passes the green chlorophyll will fade leaving the color a soft gold.

Brenda is offering $15 off One Pound (+ free shipping) if you mention you learned about her through my newsletter.
“Mystery Boxes" Still Available with NEW ITEMS!!!

Big Discount on Waxed Linen!!!

Many of you have taken advantage of the HUGE sale I've been offering on my basket supplies. I have an abundance of pine needles, Irish waxed linen, beads, cabochons, stone donuts, walnut slices, antlers, and many other NEW items I recently added after digging deeper in my art studio! Since Covid forced the cancellation of all my 2020 classes I have alot of inventory still left. You'll receive the NEW sale announcement on October 10 after I return from a camping trip so I'll be in town to fulfill orders.
Years ago one of my students brought a friend, Roger Minami, to one of my home workshops. In the beginning workshop students learn the basics - how to start, how to feed the coil, how to stitch on both sides, how to shape the vessel, how to taper down and finish the top row. Roger had an easy time learning everything and was a sponge for information. At the end of the day he said I'd be hearing from him again.

Well, some time later I heard from Roger. He wanted to purchase TEN spools of waxed linen. I asked what on earth was he going to make and he replied "a large wall hanging" for his house under construction in Mexico. I was surprised, as you can imagine! It normally takes several baskets to master many of the basic skills. I told him that wall hangings can be tricky - the weight of the coils can place a burden on the entire structure. But brave soul that he is, Roger was not deterred.

A year or two later he came back to buy another large stash of linen spools. I told Roger I MUST receive pictures when he's done! Then a couple months ago I received an email with pictures of the finished wall installation. My jaw dropped! Keep in mind Roger only had 5 hours of instruction. The piece is called "The Reef." He has managed to convey the swirling of tidal waters and the marvelous creatures found hiding in the depths of tidepools. This piece is a monumental achievement. It truly belongs on the wall of a fine art gallery or museum for many to see and gape at. I am happy to have an opportunity to share it with my readers.

I asked Roger to tell his story and as you will see, he has a very eclectic background. I asked for LOTS of pictures because I know many of my students will want to see closeups of this marvelous piece.
Rogers Story:

Nadine asked me about my art background so here we go....I majored in art in high school and wanted to be a fashion designer. Got partial scholarships to a couple of great art schools in the Los Angeles area, but I couldn't afford to continue. Then I started at LA Trade Technical studying fashion design, but had to quit after a couple of months because my car broke down and had to work to pay for the repairs. Long story short, I ended up dancing in Las Vegas where I designed costumes on the side for shows and some performers… Ann Margret, Paul Anka, Isaac Hayes, Liberace, and Liza Minneli. Eventually started producing casino shows, doing the direction, choreography , lighting and costume designs.
When I retired I took up sculpting classes in Puerto Vallarta. Also started painting and exhibited in a local gallery. I bought a house in Escondido, California from a realtor named Beverley Roberts, who was energetic, intelligent and delightfully witty! She was doing basket weaving and invited me to take class. Not knowing anything about basket weaving, I thought , this will be fun and I can make an Easter Basket for my granddaughter!

The class, taught by Nadine Spier, was quiet and low key, but Nadine was pouring tons of information on us. At the end of the class, I had a four inch disc of pine weaving around a polished stone. I purchased Nadine's instructional videos "Basketweaving Essentials" and "Advanced Basket Weaving" and was amazed at all the possibilities of this craft. So my little disc grew to about a yard across trying techniques that Nadine had done on the videos.
At that point, I was buying a condo on the beach and thought I could do a piece for the dining room that could relate to the ocean. The condo took a year to build, during which time I worked on ”The Reef”. I found it relaxing and challenging experimenting with the pine needles. I started doing smaller pieces which I planned to put together but eventually when a couple of the sections measured almost four feet across, I decided that putting them together would make it practically impossible to move. (I was living in Escondido and was moving to Mexico.) Nadine had opened a whole new world to me and I loved it!

“The Reef” kept me busy in my spare time and I never did make an Easter basket for my granddaughter!

Roger Minami
Well, I'm sure you are just as amazed as I was upon receiving these images. Quite inspiring, but also quite humbling that this extraordinary creation was done by an absolute beginner in coiled basketry!! I've seen some of the other mediums Roger works in, and he is equally talented in them all.

I'm hoping life can resume to some sense of normalcy sometime soon. In the meantime, try to stay connected to art in some way as it truly nurtures the soul and lifts the spirit. The number of zoom classes being offered, many of them free, is increasing all the time and offers great opportunities for creative expression and connecting with others. Perhaps your basket guild is connecting via zoom, if not, then encourage your guild to try it. I know we all miss our comrades.

May Fall bring blessings to everyone and may you and your loved ones remain safe and well.

Nadine Spier
Contemporary Pine Needle Basketweaver
​Basket Weaving Classes and Basket Art for Purchase
1084 N El Camino Real Box B184, Encinitas CA 92024 (760) 533-1000