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Basketry Lessons

one on one

I am scheduling one-to-one basketry students at my studio near Westby, WI for 2024!

Read more and fill out the lessons interest form to schedule!

 

I'm thrilled to be able to offer one-on-one lessons in traditional stake and strand style willow basketry to those looking to begin their journey with willow or sharpen up their beginner level basket skills.

 

Students taking one-to-one lessons receive high quality, attentive individual instruction and can expect to complete beautiful basketry work *and* depart with the skills to continue learning and weaving on their own.

 

Also, because lessons take place at our willow farm, all private lessons students have the opportunity to get hands-on knowledge of material preparation in addition to weaving; including information about growing and processing basketry willow, wild coppicing native varieties, how to store, sort, soak, and more. These skills are essential for students interested in continued practice.

I currently teach during regular work hours, Monday - Friday, and can occasionally accommodate one weekend day as part of a private 3-day lesson. Timing is more flexible for private group classes, so reach out if you'd like to schedule a group over a weekend! 

"The three-day basketweaving intensive was perfect for me to learn the basics of willow weaving and then feel comfortable continuing to practice on my own at home. Anni was such a good teacher - really thorough and knowledgeable, as well as friendly, encouraging and laid back. I loved seeing her willow farm, and I enjoyed spending time with her while I learned. I hope to be able to come back and continue lessons sometime in the future!"

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"I can't recommend a willow basket class with Anni enough - their dedication to both the quality and accessibility of their craft, their delightful teaching style, the cozy and curious learning environment they cultivate."

Tuition

I charge $30 an hour for instruction / studio time, which includes all prep time for each student, take-home learning materials, use of all basketry tools, and willow for your first medium-sized beginner basket. It costs around $50 in materials to make a medium size basket, and I charge a material fee for each basket made beyond the first one included in the course.

Learning to work with willow requires a significant investment of time, focus, and commitment. It's almost always more difficult than what folks expect, and teaching this challenging skill to beginners is accordingly intensive. I try to reflect that in tuition for lessons and attempt to pay myself a living wage as a craftsperson.  

The minimum timeframe I offer for beginner lessons is two full work days. I recommend at least 3 days for those who want to get more of a solid base for continued learning, as well as instruction in material preparation.

Two-Person Lessons & Group Classes

If you'd like to share your lessons time with a friend or family member, or schedule a private group class with your friends, you can enjoy a discounted rate from the regular lessons tuitions. Reach out with your proposal and we can make a plan that works for your group.

Lessons Options

 2-Day Beginner Course - $420

Depending on student skill level, the student can expect to complete at least one beautiful, durable round-based stake and strand basket, and have the basic skills to be able to continue study on their own. We will work from 9 - 5, and you will receive 14 hours of instruction, basketry materials, and informational materials for continued learning.

 

3-Day Beginner Course- $620

Depending on student skill level, students will complete 1-2 round-based stake and strand baskets, get an introduction to material preparation so they can continue study easily at home, and will receive all basketry materials. Learning to coppice one's own willow for weaving projects is an essential skill for continued practice, and if the lessons are in during willow season and the student requests, we can take a field trip to coppice wild willow.

Longer Term Learning

If you're looking for longer term and/or ongoing instruction, you're welcome to apply for a longer term learning option. Longer term students are invited to either come to the farm for 5 full days of intensive instruction, or structure a repeating lesson schedule suitable to ongoing education with the willow. Longer term students have the advantage of getting to develop their skills with the willow in a deeper way and get to cocreate a learning curriculum that suits their individual learning goals and needs over time. This is for the more serious basketmaker who wants to develop the full range of skills needed for continued independent craft.

Accommodation 

Simple, rustic accommodations are available on the farm for visiting students for $30 / night. Students should be prepared to bring their own food for the duration of their stay, and be comfortable being self sufficient within a rustic setup if choosing a farm stay option. Camping on the farm is also possible for visiting students.

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Accessibility

While it's my goal to make willow work as accessible as possible, weaving the baskets, preparing the materials, and being on site all require a degree of able-bodiedness that is sadly exclusive to some. Working with willow requires a surprising degree of physical strength and dexterity, and many able-bodied people with no chronic illness or pain issues leave an intensive period of weaving with some degree of bodily pain. Additionally, our current available teaching space requires climbing a steep flight of stairs for entry. 

In many cases, folks with certain physical disabilities or movement disorders, arthritis or chronic pain of the upper body or hands, or small children or elderly people may not be able to make baskets with willow. However, though learning a complex new skill is challenging for anyone and especially for disabled and neurodiverse people, I (Anni) as a fellow neurodivergent am very capable of supporting neurodiverse students in a successful basketry study. If disabled or movement impaired people are interested in learning basketry, consider trying one of the much gentler material mediums to try - reed, rattan, pine needle, grasses, etc.

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Work Exhange Program

*Notice* Applications for the Spring 2024 Work Exchange are closed. You can still book a regular lesson by clicking the Apply button on this page!

Limited work trade slots are available to cover full and partial tuition for all of the learning options available. Work trade opportunities happen primarily in the transitional seasons: April - May and October - December. 

Work exchangers spend their days on our small, perennial/agroforestry based farm, helping tend to native, medicinal, and perennial plants and maintain the systems that support our educational opportunities here. The farm is situated on 27 acres on the Kickapoo River, and is a beautiful place to spend some days working outdoors.

Some possible trade activities one could expect in work trade positions are: prepping garden beds; invasive species removal; planting, harvesting, and sorting willow; planting and tending fruit and nut trees; making and maintaining trails; infrastructure maintenance, and more.

The work trade exchange works like this: I compensate work exchangers starting at $15 / hour - a slightly above average wage in our area for entry level farm work that requires a lot of training. 

Work trade slots are competitive, and I prioritize applicants who:

1. Are flexible during timeframes in which work projects are happening and help is needed, which can be unpredictable given the nature of farming

2. Are able to work hard outdoors for long hours in a variety of weather situations, including very cold and wet

3. Have prior farm or physical labor experience and  references available for that work

4. For whom funds are a barrier and who may not otherwise be able to access the learning opportunities offered

Example Exchanges

2-Day Course • Full Work Trade • Staying on Farm

2 days x 7 hours a day = 14 hours of study

14 hours of study x $30/hour for = $420

2 nights accommodations = $60

Dollar value of the course: $480

When the work exchange rate is applied, this equals out to around 30 hours of work trade, or 5ish work days on the farm.

This work exchange program has been informed by my own experience as a work exchanger at various places and phases of life, which allowed me to have valuable experiences I may not otherwise have had. It is designed with great care and is intended to give more folks an opportunity to access this education, while ensuring the offering is still properly valued.

Words from a past work-exchanger

 "If you have an interest in learning bioregional willow basketry from a very skilled and silly weaver, I can't recommend Anni enough. I was blessed with the opportunity to do a work trade on Anni's farm in exchange for a private three-day basket weaving lesson.

 

While assisting with spring willow planting, stacking wood, and other farm chores, I also learned how to steward, harvest, sort, and cure both gathered and grown willow. The work trade allowed me to gain a deep appreciation for the attention to detail, hours of hard work, and tender loving care that beats at the heart of willow basketry - all before stepping into the studio to begin my weaving lesson.

 

Anni's teaching style is both nonchalant and impactful. Their lessons are infused with humor and curiosity, bite-sized nuggets of wisdom, and thorough instruction. Anni is well-seasoned in the art of pedagogy and possesses an intuitive gift for teaching a time-consuming and difficult craft to beginners. My three-day intensive class was designed in a way where I could plunge headfirst into the world of weaving with a talented instructor who was by my side through every step of the process.

 

Anni knew when to boost my confidence and when to push me out of my comfort zone as I stumbled through my first basket. As a recovering perfectionist, I needed this kind of support to navigate the messy, unpleasant, and hard aspects of learning a new skill. In lessons, Anni weaves together an introductory framework of technical skills, artistry, and intimate knowledge while also keeping the atmosphere lighthearted, fun, and forgiving.

 

From learning willow identification and wild coppicing in the field to practicing base weave and bordering techniques in the studio, Anni set me up in a way to feel confident continuing the craft on my own. I can't wait to come back for my next lesson!" 

 

-Ella, 2023 work exchanger

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Studio & Accommodations

We are so lucky to be able to share our beautiful riverside basketmaking workshop as well as Casita, our small rustic cabin with farm visitors and students.  Below are some photos of both spaces, so you can get an idea of where you'll be spending your time while you're here and start to prepare yourself for the space. 

 

The studio has electricity, fiber-optic wifi, a mini fridge for student's food, an electric kettle and tea, heating and air conditioning. As mentioned above, accessing the studio does require climbing a steep flight of stairs.

 

The cabin has no electricity or running water, but there is a camp stove for cooking, solar lamps, and jugs of water provided. The bed is in low-ceilinged loft accessible with a ladder, and there is a small bathroom with a bucket toilet.  Students planning to stay here will need to be able-bodied, comfortable using a composting bucket toilet, comfortable without running water or electricity, and comfortable in a small space. 

 

Students are encouraged to make use of the studio and the cabin in tandem, using the electricity, wifi, and fridge in the studio during the day time, and the quiet cozy cabin for cooking, rest, and privacy. 

The Studio

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The Cabin

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