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An incredible journey started when I took my first basket making class in 1987 from the University of Washington Experimental College. It was called Creative Basket Making. It looked interesting and I thought it would be a fun new craft to learn. We learned twining, coiling, and diagonal plaiting and working with natural materials. I was hooked.

I was very fortunate to start my exploration of basket making just as Michelle Berg and Leslie Coe were starting up the Basketry School in the Fremont area of Seattle. It became my home away from home. In 1994, about the time the Basketry School was winding down after 7 or 8 years, another basketry school opened up north of Seattle in Marysville, called Fishsticks. This is owned and operated by Judy Zugish and Bill Roeder. They brought in many national and international teachers to teach workshops at their studio. So my basket education continued

I’ve taken more than 200 basket workshops over the years and many of them have influenced my work. I’ve worked with willow, ash, cedar bark, white oak, birch and many other materials. I’ve explored coiling, twining, plaiting, mad weave, rib style baskets and everything in between. But, diagonal twills are what I enjoy working with the best.

I started my study of Japanese style bamboo flower baskets with Jiro Yonezwa at the Basketry School and continued studying with him at Fishsticks. I took more than 30 workshops over 15 years with Jiro. It was a great learning experience, but I knew I wasn’t really interested in taking the time to develop the necessary meticulous skills to properly process bamboo for weaving fine baskets. In 2000, I took a class from Jackie Abrams at Fishsticks using watercolor paper for weaving baskets, and finally found my medium of choice. I never looked back, dropping all other materials to work exclusively with paper.
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I now work in diagonal twills using mostly narrow 3mm wide strips cut with a pasta maker. I paint the paper before-hand with a variety of acrylic paints. I design and discover new shapes, possibilities and weaving innovations by approaching most of my work as a type of puzzle. I constantly challenge myself with questions that lead to experiments and innovations that allow me to access new shapes and possibilities. The mathematical aspects of the shapes and patterns and the use of color inspire me. They fill my thoughts with endless creative possibilities.

I was born and bred in the Western Washington. I grew up in Skagit County north of Seattle. I had lived most of my adult life in Seattle when I started looking to buy a house with studio space. I found one I could afford in Everett, which is about 20 miles north of Seattle. Now I spend many an evening and weekend working in the studio on new pieces. And when I need inspiration I can dive into my ever growing collection of over 300 basket books.

I’ve been a member of the local Basketry Guild, Northwest Basket Weavers, Vi Phillips Guild since 1990. I’m also a member of the Northwest Designer Craftsmen, the Northeast Basketry Guild, the Handweavers Guild of America, the National Basketry Organization, as well as various other organizations,

I’ve made so many lifelong friends through basketry; I’m not sure where I would be without the basketry community. I’ve traveled and seen other parts of the country and the world because of basketry. I know it was a life changing experience for me when I took that first class. I can’t wait to experience the rest of the journey.

- Dorothy