November / December 2018Newsletter
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
--Edith Sitwell
Dear Readers,

My heart goes out to all those affected by the recent hurricanes. I know that many of my students live in those states and you have been in my thoughts and prayers. The video footage of the devastation is nearly inconceivable. My condolences to everyone who has suffered trauma, damage, or even lost their homes to these powerful storms.

A big thank you to everyone who wrote compassionate notes after learning of my torn rotator cuff. I’m happy to report after many weeks of PT I’m back! 

In my last newsletter I also shared I was learning how to play the Native American Flute. I am totally hooked. I never knew something other than basketweaving could give me this much joy and peace. In response to my newsletter a couple readers have purchased flutes and are starting on their own wondrous journeys. I hope more of you will try it.

While learning how to play the NAF using YouTube, I found a video called "Play the Trees." In it the instructor told a story that really resonated with me....A Tibetan monk told him "if you ever need the inspiration for a song, just look around you. Mother Nature will provide all the sheet music you'll ever need. See the tree line in the distance, use that like a musical score, the taller the tree, the higher the notes. The lower the trees, the lower the notes. Start at one end of the horizon and play the musical score to the other end. Sit by a river and play the shore." I had an opportunity to do this in September while camping in northern California at Lake Almanor. It was late in the season and there were hardly any other campers. I didn't want to bother anyone with my playing, so this was a perfect opportunity. But as the week went by some of the remaining campers sought me out to find out who was playing that beautiful music and asking what was the instrument. Our campsite was along the lakeshore and a flock of geese would come daily and feed along the water's edge. When I started to play what appeared to be the leader of the flock (he was always keeping a close eye on his companions) stretched out his neck as far as possible, turning his head left and right. When he discovered the source he waddled closer and honked at me. Then I would play. Then he would honk. This back and forth went on for quite a while. It was alot of fun having this exchange with one of nature's creatures. He returned daily for our little routine.

I am thrilled to announce two NEW books on the art of pine needle basketry that were just released. They are exceptional in instruction accompanied by an abundance of high quality close-up photographs. The author, Sande Rowan, clearly has a soulful passion for this ancient artform and it shines through her writing. 
In The Joy of Basket Making Volume One she starts off with basic information for beginners…..a bit of history, an extensive glossary for coiling, list of tools, how to collect and prepare the pine needles. Next comes instruction on dyeing, using glycerine, then proceeds into the exciting stuff such as stitches, different types of objects you can use as centers, traditional wrapped starts for both round and oval baskets, using resin to create your own centers. Gourd artist Kristy Dial contributed to the book on how to use gourds with your coiling. A favorite chapter of mine is Sande’s very clever use of Cholla cactus skeletons. I’ve collected a few over the years and haven’t used them yet, but her chapter has me excited. Unfortunately, it is difficult to collect enough in volume since it takes years of scorching desert sun for the dangerous thorns to fall off. Collect with caution! The book finishes with an appendix with helpful resources.
The Joy of Basket Making Volume Two has more advanced instruction – making lids, using sheaves as a decorative element, portals (open spaces), making handles, masks,
using small pine cones or pine needle sheaves as a top knob for lids, coiling around walnut slices and alternate natural materials. There’s even chapters on making lariat baskets (ropes used on ranches), wrapped paper baskets, using recycled commercial fibers, finally ending with a very informative chapter on how to show and sell your baskets. This book is as thorough as it can be, along with nearly every page having inspiring photos.
I would recommend buying both books. I’m sure you won’t regret it. They are available on Amazon.
With the upcoming Thanksgiving and various religious holidays, more attention is placed on gratitude than any other time of the year. It's actually something I focus on upon awakening and when laying in bed while getting ready to drift off to sleep. It's good for peace of mind and good health to place attention on gratitude. Sometimes it's difficult to find things to feel thankful for, but it's about perspective. Consider this......

  • If you have money in the bank, cash in your wallet and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's most wealthy!
  • If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a comfy place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the people on the planet
  • If you woke up more healthy than sick, you are more blessed than 1 million people who will not survive the week
  • If you can go to your preferred house of worship without fear of harrassment, arrest, torture or death, you have freedom some 3 billion people can only dream about
  • If you never fought in a war, experienced imprisonment or pangs of starvation, you are better off than 5 million people
  • Since you're able to read, you are more blessed than over 2 billion people who can't

Now isn't that something to think about ??


Upcoming basketweaving workshops in my home in Encinitas, Southern California

November 10
​December 8
January 12
February 9
March 30
10 am - 4 pm • $60
Basket Kits (if needed) $38.00 
To enroll or ask questions, email Nadine at or (760) 533-1000
More class info is also available on my website

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

Wishing my readers a healthy, happy Winter and holiday season.
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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