September / October 2018Newsletter
If you’re to create something powerful and important, you must at the very least be driven by an equally powerful inner force.
Ryan Holiday
Dear Readers,

Recently I’ve experienced a very challenging situation but am a firm believer that every day brings greater good. This “challenging situation” has once again confirmed the validity of my belief. I’ll start from the beginning.

A year ago while teaching at Arrowmont a student brought her Native American flutes to play for us. The sound was so expressive, so mournful, it felt like my soul was soaring to the cosmos. Several of us were so profoundly affected we inquired how difficult it is to learn. She encouraged us by saying you could start with an inexpensive beginner’s flute and you don’t even need to read music, that it’s an easy instrument to learn how to play. We were dubious. However one student who many of you may know, Pamela Zimmerman, pursued it when she returned home and purchased a flute. She became so enamored with playing, she ended up buying additional flutes in different keys. Knowing my keen interest, she encouraged me to try, reiterating that it is an easy instrument to learn. I was doubtful but ironically had been yearning to learn how to play an instrument for years and had pondered which instrument to try. So one day I finally ordered a beginners flute. For months I didn’t pick it up or even try to blow into it. I think I was probably scared of being lousy at it. I remembered my dreaded organ lessons from childhood. Then “The Situation” arose.
I had been experiencing pain in my shoulder for a couple years. This year it progressed to the point where I couldn’t even pour a cup of coffee, reach forward to pet my dog, or coil pine needle baskets. I had to keep my right arm against my side like a broken wing. A friend and fellow basketweaver encouraged me to see a doctor. Meanwhile I had been assuming this is what ageing feels like. I had heard that alot of aches and pains start showing up as the years pile on. But my friend became insistent (thank you Alison) what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. Went to a doctor and learned I had a torn rotator cuff. No wonder I had been in so much pain!  

It’s been several months since I’ve been able to coil. When I’d go into my art studio I would desperately crave to weave, but had to fight the temptation. I’ve had creative ideas percolating but couldn’t do anything about it except sketch them. I finally had to put my latest coiled project in the closet out of sight so it wouldn’t taunt me. THAT’S when I finally picked up the flute!
Not knowing anything about how to play NAF (Native American Flute) I started to watch Youtube videos and discovered a wealth of information. Many flute players are sharing their knowledge and have produced some very good videos. In a very short time I was completely hooked. Every day I couldn’t wait to spend time with my flute, practicing melodies, trying to conquer covering the holes completely so the flute wouldn’t squeak. And fortunately holding the flute did not hurt my shoulder. I haven’t been this enthused about anything since I discovered basketweaving in the mid 1980’s. All I want to do is play the flute! Last month my husband offered me to pick out any flute for my upcoming birthday in September. I researched flute makers and eventually decided on David O’Neal at Rising Moon Flutes (his work can be seen on his website and also Etsy). He was fabulous to work with and allowed me to choose the woods, the fetish, co-designed the flute barrel, and created for me a custom flute. It’s a true work of art and I keep stroking it, looking at it, admiring the iridescent patterns in the Maple, and playing every chance I get. Playing has become compulsive - I never want to stop! When I’m doing something else, my flute keeps calling me to come play.  

Meanwhile I have been going to physical therapy and am slowly but surely recovering the use of my arm. It’s still too soon to weave, but I’m comforted knowing it’s temporary. And I am eternally grateful to having lost my ability to weave (for this relatively brief period of time) because it gave me a magnificent gift in return. The gift of creating music.

I would like to encourage my readers if they have the slightest interest to go ahead and acquire an inexpensive beginner’s flute and give it a try. It may change your life!

Joy abounds in unexpected places and situations. It’s helpful to remember when tough stuff happens perhaps a door to new possibilities has just opened.

Here’s a picture of my birthday flute, and the beginner’s flute. Below the pics is a video of me playing - when listening please keep in mind I haven't been playing very long!
Upcoming basketweaving workshops in my home in Encinitas, Southern California

​October 27
November 10
​December 8
10 am - 4 pm • $60
Basket Kits (if needed) $38.00 
To enroll email Nadine at

Click here to see all upcoming workshops


Please note my NEW contact information:
(760) 533-1000
1084 N El Camino Real B184, Encinitas CA 92024

I wanted to share just a small sampling of reviews of my three basketry instructional videos on Amazon. If you haven't purchased one of my videos, you might like to read what some of my viewers have said:

This Basketweaving Essentials DVD is amazing. Nadine, the instructor on this video, does an excellent job teaching the basket-making process. She carefully and clearly explains each step, then shows you exactly how each is done, repeating enough times for you to really understand how to do it yourself. She covers a wide range of topics including starting a basket around an object (stone or walnut slice, etc), how to do 3 different stitches, add beads, shape baskets, etc. She has a calming demeanor that makes an excellent teacher. The filming is excellent with the beautiful backdrop of a peaceful lake surrounded by trees. As a beginning pine needle basket maker, my technique has improved quickly through watching this DVD. It's worth every penny. I highly recommend this DVD, and believe anyone purchasing it will be as delighted with it as I am. It arrived well packaged and quickly.

I live in an area where there is an abundance of long pine needles. After many failed attempts at teaching myself how to work with that material in coils, I decided to purchase Nadine's DVD. Now I can execute the techniques with confidence! Her manner is pleasant and the instructions complete. I found the pace and structure of the video to be just right for my learning style. I watched the video twice and then began my project. I was easily able to navigate back to the appropriate section of the DVD if I needed to refer back to her information. I highly recommend this video. It's the next best thing to being in class with Nadine by your side.

I just finished the basket in Basket Essentials (completed basket within a week of purchasing the video) and was so excited that I purchased the second dvd (Advanced Basket Weaving). I have started the Advanced Basket Weaving project and my basket is going as smoothly as the basket in the first video. Excellent tips. I have only been weaving since March 2011 but with the excellent tips and video I am working on completeing the basket featured in Advanced Basket even if you are a beginner these two videos are for you!
Nadine has put together another outstanding class in pine needle basketry techniques, showing and explaining every step in the process. The camera close-ups are excellent. I feel much more confident of my abilities to tackle some of the advanced techniques now that I have watched this DVD several times. . She offers many tips. Nadine inspires us to take our pine needle basketry in new directions!

Nadine Spiers' Advanced DVD is the finest instructional video I've come across. Her attention to detail, no holding back sharing of technique, high standards of craftsmanship, and great camera work make the video a pleasure to watch. My comments also apply to her first DVD, "Basket Weaving Essentials," which I would recommend to any beginner.

You can view snippets or purchase the videos here

Wishing my readers a beautiful crisp Fall and many wonderful hours to create and play!

Happy weaving,
Website   |  Artist Gallery  Workshops  |  Videos  |  Contact
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