Scroll down to see our new plans.

BASKETS AND GOURDS: Containers of Our Culture

A new date has been chosen. See below for more information.

Due to recent events, Baskets & Gourds – Containers of our Culture 2020 is now rescheduled to April 24 & 25, 2021, at the Elks Lodge in Visalia. We are in the process of confirming instructors and classes for 2021. Participants will receive an email shortly which will give the option of transferring their registration to new dates or receive a refund. Please remember to cancel your lodging reservations for April, 2020.
If you are in the area, please visit Arts Visalia during April to see the exhibit featuring the instructors’ artwork!

Baskets and Gourds 2020

Our 2020 Conference Brochure is now available! Click the button above to download a brochure, which includes registration forms.

Conference Starts in:

We are very excited about our upcoming Conference!!

Elks Lodge, Mill Creek Conference Center, Visalia CA

Classes April 24 & 25, 2021

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.

Now Available -- Two Monday classes!

Both classes will be held at Cecile Garrison's farm in Visalia.

Bird of Paradise Bowl
Instructor: Gloria Crane

Contact Gloria Crane if you would like to join this class. See PDF for details.

The Apple of My Eye
Instructor: Lisa Baurmeister

See PDF for details.

Class Information

Details about all of the exciting classes we will be offering!

#101  Florals, Filigree & Fun
Instructor: Lisa Baurmeister

In this class, students will use many familiar and new techniques to create their design. There will be three patterns to choose from to burn onto the gourd. They will apply transparent acrylics, using different tools, add variegated foiling, carving, and filigree, and finish with a new technique for a one-of-a-kind background. Most students will finish at least one section, if not all of their gourd. 

#201  Tips and Tricks for the Painted Gourd
Instructor:  Lisa Baurmeister

Students will be stepping outside the box in this class and using unconventional tools to apply paint. One does not always have to use a paint brush. Makeup sponges, Q-tips, micro brushes and paper towels add interesting texture to a painted gourd. They will learn blending technique and how to apply color theory to their work. They will start with a pre-burnt original design to ensure completion of their piece, ending with a contrasting rim of pine needles that can be adorned with beads.

#102  Tangled Butterfly Bowl
Instructor: Judy Burkett

Zentangle is something that anyone can do if they can make a circle, dot, S, C, and a line that does not have to be straight.

#202  Pine Needles Coiled on Manipulated Gourd
Instructor:  Toni Best

Students will select a unique manipulated and class ready gourd on which to coil pine needles with waxed linen. They are only limited by their imagination!

#103  Engraving and Carving the Embellished Gourd
Instructor: Bill Colligen      This class is full

Learn how to engrave the design with a wood burner on a gourd. We will carve out designated areas, metal leaf (of your choice) will be part of our design (provided). You will have the option of small stones for inlay (not provided).

#203  Zentangle Mask
Instructor:  Judy Burkett

Zentangle is something that anyone can do if they can make a circle, dot, S, C, and a line that does not have to be straight.

#104  Hopi Butterfly Maiden
Instructor: Gloria Crane

This sweet Hopi Butterfly Maiden will delight all who see her. Banana gourds, jewelry gourds, and gourd scraps are used to create the doll. Several techniques will be used in this class, including a little wood-burning, sculpting, and painting a faux patina using acrylic craft paint. Minimal carving will be done when attaching the wings.

#204  Tranquil Bloom: Creating a Lotus Flower
Instructor:  Bill Colligen       This class is full

Learn how to engrave and carve a lotus flower using a wood burner and a Dremel on an already patinaed gourd.  Various techniques will also be applied, resulting in a beautiful piece of art to take home.

#105  Spirit of the Desert
Instructor:  Kristy Dial

Make a stunning wall hanging with handmade gourd paper and a shadow box. You will be making gourd paper for a wonderful Shaman and creating your own watercolor background. In addition to making the doll’s head, you will be designing and painting a small gourd. Then once it is all put together, it will be absolutely stunning! Embellishments and tutorial will be provided.

#205  Carved Ginkgo Bowl
Instructor:  Gloria Crane

Students will learn more about deep, dimensional carving and how to create a smooth swirled band, with shallow framed rims and drilled holes of various sizes. Acrylic craft paints are used in this class, and students will learn about highlighting and shading to create the appearance of even deeper carving.


#106  Seagrass Rim
Instructor:  Jody Dingivan


Learn how to create a simple rim and how to embellish with more seagrass.

#206  Feather Embellishments
Instructor:  Kristy Dial

Students will learn more about deep, dimensional carving and how to create a smooth swirled band, with shallow framed rims and drilled holes of various sizes. Acrylic craft paints are used in this class, and students will learn about highlighting and shading to create the appearance of even deeper carving.

#107  Yellow on Yellow
Instructor:  Kathey Ervin

Alaskan yellow cedar bark is the 24 carat gold of the Pacific Northwest. It is truly a treat to work with all twining techniques. In this class, the base will be woven for you so that you may 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 that I learned from my Haida teacher in Alaska. Full turn and basic twine allow pattern changes within one row of twining.

#207  Gourd and Metal Box
Instructor: Jody Dingivan

Carve and inlay on the gourd. Then dye and attach a handle.

#108  This class no longer available



#208   Porcupine Quills on Birch Bark Medallion
Instructor: Kathey Ervin


Yes, that’s right – stitching with porcupine quills! A double layer of birch bark is scored with your 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 sweetgrass and beaded neck piece on soft tanned deer hide.

#109  Hinges and Portholes
Instructor: Mary Hettmansperger

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 silver front and will have material to make more books and lockets using just the copper. Patinas, texturing, and metal applications, including embossing, will also be covered. The focus of this class is to master the hinge using tabs to create a variety of moveable doors. It is a low-tech process with fabulous results. Students will make several different designs.

#209  Tree of Life
Instructor: Cookie Hanson

Imaginative woven sculpture – random twining of the materials contained on the seed stalk. Nothing added.


#110  Double Walls
Instructor: Bonnie Kennedy

Learn to weave a double walled basket

#210  Sculptural Twining
Instructor: Mary Hettmansperger

In this class, you will create two bases. First, a copper base using a variety of patinas, cold connections, and metal applications. You will also create a second base using a wire structure, paper, and surface applications. From these bases, twining will be used to create the weaving using 6-7 ply waxed linen. You will learn how to create texture, bumps, directional changes, and tunnels. Painting the linen will be an opportunity to add to the uniqueness of your artistry. While you will not finish during class hours, you will leave with the materials and knowledge to do so on your own.

#111  Lace Weave Twining
Instructor: Margaret Mathewson

This is an open twining method carefully spaced to look like open lace. Many shapes and sizes can be made – a tray, a small drop shaped hanging basket, handled basket, or cone shape. Shaping, adding warps, and other weaves such as three strand and braids will be introduced for advanced students. You may also do crossed warps for a star pattern.


#211  Waves of Color
Instructor: Bonnie Kennedy

Learn how to make random weave designs on a standard basket.


#112  Fancy Footwork
Instructor: Marilyn Moore

Feet are the stabilizing factor in this beautiful little basket. Copper strips, copper wire, and the student’s choice of fine colored wire are the unique materials used in this basket. Color blending as well as design options are what make this basket so much fun to make.

#212  Feathers and Leather Wrap
Instructor: Sam McKinney

Freehand wood burned feathers with leather wrapped rim. Students will create three sets of three feathers

#113   3-D Poppies or Irises
Instructor:  Olive Moore

Learn how to make poppies or irises really “pop” with a technique that can be applied to any gourd project. We 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.

#213  Willow for Wimps
Instructor:  Margaret Mathewson

This name was coined by my friend Willie Ziegler for people whose hands cannot handle big willows, but who want to learn basic wicker willow techniques on a smaller scale. Learn twining, randing, and a variety of decorative weaves. This is an opportunity to experiment with willow and other natural materials, but in miniature. We can also use bark strips and split willow for texture and color variety.


#114  Ti Stitch Basket Sampler
Instructor:  Vicky Nickelson

Beginning with a laser cut cedar form, we will wrap a pine needle coil with wax linen to attach it to the wood form. Next, we learn the Ti stitch and then form the sides utilizing the Wheat stitch. The rim is finished with the Fern Stitch and wax Linen is used for the entire basket.


#214  Tenerife Embroidery Earrings with Beads
Instructor: Marilyn Moore

I adapted the lacy embellishment used in pine needle basketry for earrings. Using dyed raffia and beads, students should complete at least one earring and receive materials for the second one. Students will choose their color from prepared kits.

#115   Exotic Feather Gourd
Instructor:  Lorra Lee Rose

Students will start with a clean, cut gourd. A variety of colors will be available to stain the exterior of your calabash. A wax finish will be applied afterwards. We will use ephemera to line the gourd for a clean finish look. With an extensive collection of exotic natural color feathers to choose from, you will learn techniques I’ve developed over the decades, a way to create a kaleidoscope of color with feathers. You’ll enjoy working in this unusual medium, completing your tour de force.

There will also be a brief but important talk about conservation laws and how to collect feathers for you own use.


#215  Date Palm with a Twist
Instructor: Vicky Nickelson

We will start with 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 flat cotton cord in various colors will be used.

#116   Cedar Cross Stitch
Instructor:  Cass Schorsch

Returning to Arizona after 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 your basketry collection. Incorporating waxed linen, you will learn the Cross-stitch technique, then finish the basket with a wonderful folded border also from the Northwest Coast.

#216  Kaleidoscope Feather Gourd
Instructor: : Lorra Lee Rose

Students will stain the exterior of a calabash choosing from a variety of dyes. With a choice of handmade paper, they will line the interior for a clean finished look. With an extensive collection of exotic natural color feathers to choose from, they will learn how to create depth and dimension using my techniques I’ve developed over the decades, to create a kaleidoscope burst of color with feathers.

There will also be a brief but important talk about conservation laws and how to collect feathers for you own use

#117 Miniature Sweetgrass
Instructor:  Polly Adams Sutton

Using western red cedar bark as the structure, this basket will be twined with Northwest sweetgrass with an accent of triple twining. Materials provided for two baskets.

#217   Rejuvenation
Instructor:  Cass Schorsch

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. You will thank me when class is over that it 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 felt in order to hide all your ends and knots. Come join me and learn a new addictive technique.

#118 Tenerife
Instructor:  Grace Swanson  

Students will learn how to attach Tenerife lace to a gourd.

#218  Introduction to Cedar Bark
Instructor:  Polly Adams Sutton

Using prepared western red cedar bark, students will experience the softness and flexibility of this prime natural material. Time will be spent learning to split cedar. The finish is a traditional folded border.

#119 Choctaw Pouch Basket
Instructor:  Jennifer Wool  

Students will learn twill weaving, braided weave, triple twin zig zag, twining with 2 size reed, and finish rim.

#219  Chip Carving and Insets
Instructor: Grace Swanson

Students will learn to chip carve using a palm gouge and then will learn how to inset an oval cabochon

#220  Choctaw Cedar Pouch Necklace
Instructor: Jennifer Wool

Students will learn how to weave the cedar strips into the pointed bottom of the Choctaw basket shape. Twining, triple twin, braid and folded rim

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. There is a Paypal option for your donation.

Meet Our Keynote Speaker

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

Many have attempted to make pretty things from nature’s materials, but few have excelled as Arizona artist Bill Colligen has. Gourds are Colligen’s canvas, and patience is as important a tool for him as the mediums he uses to transform simple gourds into exquisite works of art.

Raised on a New Hampshire dairy farm, Bill spent his childhood attuned to the ebb and flow of country life. During abeyance from daily chores, he was often found in nature documenting his milieu. Bill and his family relocated to Arizona when he was a teenager, and in 1966 he traded the charm of Arizona for the mystique of Los Angeles. Subsequent years saw Bill performing various unfulfilling jobs, but his dream of being an artist remained. In 1992, Bill returned to Arizona, and within a few years, he had discovered the medium for his creative vision: a humble gourd. He was almost 50 years old and felt that his life was just beginning. Bill has always enjoyed the natural world, and gourds, albeit a unique canvas, represented the perfect union of art and nature.

After studying for a career in art at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University, Bill chose instead to work in landscape design, specializing in small Zen gardens, while studying to be a Master Gardener. However, he still “felt the need to express something deep within on a more personal level.” That is when his seemingly disparate callings came together: discovering the gourd’s potential as a canvas.

Bill begins with a hard-shell gourd, engraving designs into the shell with a pyrographic pen before applying a variety of metallic and verdigris patinas on its surface. “I use many different metal leaf applications including composition, copper, chemically enhanced, hand-colored, and 22 ct. gold,” he says. Gem stones are often inlaid, and areas the artist calls ‘faux burlwood’ are actually a dye application made directly onto the gourd’s surface. Reed, bamboo, and a variety of metal and stone handles embellish the lids.

Bill calls his pieces “Zen Vessels,” and for anyone who has inspected the hundreds of meticulously applied dots of paint that make up an element of each gourd’s design, it is easy to understand the focused intensity this gifted artist brings to each of his distinctive works of art. His gourds replicate, with stunning accuracy, the look of ancient ritual vessels from China. These elaborately hand-carved pieces appear heavy, with the weight of old bronze vessels, well-marked with the patina of age, and yet are nearly as light as air.

Numerous awards have been bestowed on Bill’s works including 1st Place at the Santa Fe Plaza Arts Festival 2004, 2005, and 2006; Best of Show at the Sedona Arts Festival 2006; and Best in Category at the Indian Wells (CA) Arts Festival 2006 and 2007. Colligen’s work can be seen in the 2014 book, Contemporary Art of the Southwest by E. Ashley Rooney and Julie Sasse.

“My intent is to create an experience which impacts the collector with a sense of tranquility, beauty, and balance,” Bill Colligen says.

Conference Venue

Elks Lodge, Visalia

Visalia Elks Lodge

Get Directions:

Enter Destination From input field below to get directions to our event location

Destination From

Destination To

For More Information

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



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) 732-4511  or (800) 662-6692

Join Our Community

Feel free to reach out to us via our social profiles

    Add yourself to our email list to receive conference updates and other special information. Your personal info will never be shared.