April 24 thru 26 2020 in Visalia, California

BASKETS AND GOURDS: Containers of Our Culture

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Baskets and Gourds 2020

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Elks Lodge, Mill Creek Conference Center, Visalia CA

Opening Reception April 24 – Arts Visalia

Classes April 25 & 26, 2020

Sponsored by Tulare‐Sequoia Gourd Patch and the California Gourd Society

Area information

Welcome to Visalia, Tulare County, and nearby Sequoia National Park!

We’re so glad you’re coming to the Central Valley ‐ we have a wonderful conference planned, and as you schedule your trip, we hope that you’ll consider extending your stay to enjoy the many opportunities our beautiful area has to offer. First, Visalia is aptly named “The Jewel of the Valley.” It’s a unique city with small town charm, parks, rivers, lakes, and great restaurants. You might catch a Rawhide baseball game, play some golf, walk the trails, ride the trolley, or try your luck in a nearby casino. Perhaps you feel more adventurous and want to go white‐water rafting on your way up to Sequoia National Park. Once in the park, hike up Moro Rock, and stroll amongst the giant sequoias. Plan on spending a few days camping with your family or stay in Three Rivers at the Lazy J Motel. If you plan carefully, your visit to the area could also include the Three Rivers JazzAffair, the California Antique Farm Equipment Show, or Team Roping at a local rodeo. So, consider combining your creative energy at our Baskets and Gourds Conference with a family vacation and experience the varied activities in the Central Valley.

Preview of Classes

Here is a preview of some of the exciting classes we will be offering!

  • Mary Hettmansberger - Saturday class

    Mary Hettmansberger - Saturday class

    Hinges and Portholes. Using copper sheeting, students will design a hinged locket. Students may bring a personal photo, image or favorite paper to place in the locket, or use papers and images that Mary has selected. Mica is used to protect the image and cold connections hold it in place. Students will make one locket with a copper back and a sterling front and will have material to make more books and hooks using just copper. Patinas, texturing,band metal applications, including embossing will also be covered. The focus of this class is to master the hinges using tabs to create a variety of moveable doors. It is a low-tech process with fabulous results. Students will make several different designs.

  • Mary Hettmansberger - Sunday class

    Mary Hettmansberger - Sunday class

    Sculptural Twining. In this class, students will create 2 bases. First, a copper base using a variety of patinas, cold connections, and metal applications. They will create a 2nd base using a wire structure, paper, and surface application. From these bases, twining will be used to create the weaving using 6-7 ply waxed linen. They will learn how to create texture, bumps, directional changed, and tunnels. Adding to the uniqueness of this artistry will be the chance to paint this linen. While the student will not finish during class hours, they will leave with the materials and knowledge to do so on their own.

  • Cass Schorsch - Saturday class.

    Cass Schorsch - Saturday class.

    Cedar Bar Cross Stitch. After returning to Arizona from spending time in Washington, I learned a new way of doing cross-stitch in basketry, which is totally different from the original Cross-Stitch I did in 1992. Students will create this lovely basket that will definitely be a treasure to add to their collection. Incorporating waxed linen, students will learn the cross-stitch technique, then finish the basket with a wonderful folded border also from the Northwest Coast.

  • Cass Schorsch - Sunday class.

    Cass Schorsch - Sunday class.

    Rejuvenation. While in Washington last winter, I learned a new technique called Full-Turn Twining. I quickly became addicted and decided I needed to share this technique with my students. I felt so rejuvenated when I came home, so I developed this little basket. Students will thank me when class is over that this is not larger. The basket is woven entirely with 1/8” cedar and the twining is done with cotton yarn. It is lined with stiff left in order to hide all the ends and knots. I hope students will join me and learn a new addictive techinique.

  • Vicky Nickelson - Saturday class.

    Vicky Nickelson - Saturday class.

    Ti Stitch Sampler Basket. Beginning with a laser cut cedar form, student will wrap a pine needle coil with waxed linen to attach it to the wood form. Next they will learn the Ti stitch and then form the sides, utilizing the Wheat Stitch and the rim is finished with the Fern stitch.

  • Vicky Nickelson - Sunday class.

    Vicky Nickelson - Sunday class.

    Date Palm with a Twist. Students will start will a pre-drilled and stained Stem of the Date Palm. The pine needles are coiled around the stem, utilizing the pre-drilled holes with the simple basic stitch, wrapping, and a coil extension. A waxed linen cord with various colors will be used.

  • Kathy Ervin - Saturday class.

    Kathy Ervin - Saturday class.

    Yellow on yellow. Alaskan yellow cedar bark is the 24 carat gold of the Pacific Northwest. It is truly a treat to work with in all twining techniques. In this class, the bases will be woven for the student in order to jump right in and begin weaving the sides of a sampler basket. After a few rows of basic warm-up twining, other twine techniques will be introduced such as “three strand”, arrow, herringbone, and for intermediate- advanced students – “full turn twine” – a Haida technique I learned from my Haida teacher in Alaska. Full turn and basic twine allow pattern changes within one row of twining.

  • Kathy Ervin - Sunday Class

    Kathy Ervin - Sunday Class

    Porcupine Quills on Birch Bark Medallion. Yes, that’s right – stitching with porcupine quills. A double layer of birch bark is scored with the student’s choice of pattern – floral or geometric, then quills – natural white and dyed in an array of colors will be stitched onto the bark. The work ends with a fragrant border of sweet grass and beaded neck piece on soft tanned deer hide.

  • Bill Colligen - Saturday class

    Bill Colligen - Saturday class

    Engraving and Carving the Embellished Om. Students will engrave the design with a wood burner. They will carve out the designated areas. Metal leafing (student’s choice) will be part of the design (provided). Students have the option of small stones (3 mm) for inlay (not provided).

  • Bill Colligen - Sunday class.

    Bill Colligen - Sunday class.

    Tranquil Bloom: Creating a Lotus Flower. Learn how to engrave a Lotus Flower using a wood burner and a Dremel on a already patinaed gourd. Various techniques will also be applied, resulting in a beautiful piece of art to take home.

  • Olive Moore - Saturday class

    Olive Moore - Saturday class

    3-D Poppies or Irises. Students will learn how to make poppies or irises “pop” with a technique that can be applied to any gourd project. They will also be creating texture around the poppies and adding a butterfly that looks like it”s about to fly away. A cleaned, cut, and prepared gourd with all surface materials will be provided.

  • Olive Moore - Sunday class

    Olive Moore - Sunday class

    Ancient Vessel. Students will turn a cut gourd into an ancient vessel that looks like it just came out of an archeological dig. They will design and carve a pattern on the gourd along with attaching handles. They will apply a metal coating topped with an activator to attain a patina surface. Gourd and all surface materials are provided.

Please help by becoming a scholarship sponsor!

The Baskets and Gourds conference offers scholarships for deserving students and needy artists. We need your help to make this happen. A donation of $125 funds one class, materials' fees, and lunch for a student. We feel it is important to spread the love and knowledge of these ancient arts.

Meet Our Keynote Speaker

We are very fortunate to have Bill Colligen as our Keynote Speaker in 2020.

Conference Venue

Elks Lodge, Visalia

Visalia Elks Lodge

Get Directions:

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Destination From

Destination To

For More Information

Toni Best, P.O. Box 6846, Visalia CA 93290

tonibestbaskets@gmail.com 559-627-5430


Lunch can be pre-ordered each day. Be sure to complete the lunch form found in the brochure and send it in with your registration!

Where to Stay

A block of 50 rooms at $80 per night has been set aside at the Lamp Liter Inn (walking distance to Elks Lodge) – Reserve Early by Phone! Lamp Liter Inn, 3300 W. Mineral King Ave. (559) 627-0787

Join Our Community

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