Saturday, November 10, 2018

News about my booklet and "Ripples"
Here's a link for purchasing my booklet on Japanese basketry embellishments through

My booklet shows how to put Japanese basketry embellishment knots and wraps on baskets. They are the same knots you see on my rocks. There is also a section on putting a knot on a rock. The booklet is 24 pages long, w/ color photos. With practice, you can put any of these embellishments on your favorite rocks.

If you read my previous post, you'll know that I've been really ill.  But thanks to my doctors, I am slowly recovering.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that I might have to have immunotherapy infusions for the rest of my life. However, you didn't stop here to read about my health.

My newest woven piece has been very fun to work on.  I was able to weave with new materials (to me) and weaving combinations.  The first  item was ramie cord, or Chinese nettle, that I purchased at the Japanese Garden gift shop in Portland. Same family as European stinging nettle, different species.

Have you heard of hinoki?  It is Japanese cypress, or Chamaecyparis obtusa, which is a sacred tree.
Every year, Japanese woodworkers have planing competitions, in which they try to produce  the thinnest piece of wood.  Some are many times thinner than human hair!

 My fiber friend, Mari, was kind enough to give me some samples when I visited her studio.  I decided to spin it for weaving. These were pretty thin pieces.  Thinner than a piece of copy paper. 

I used both of these fibers, and more in making my newest 'hybrid basket.'  The center is pine needles woven around a resin base, followed by ni'au blanc leaves.  They are bleached white coconut leaves that you might have seen on Tahitian headdresses.

Then I attached some leaves to the last row of coiling, and started twining.  I used waxed linen, waxed cotton, more ramie cord, hemp cord, and horsehair.  The last few rows are Perigord weave.  (I learned this technique with Eva Seidenfaden's book, The Art of Basketmaking - The Périgord Technique and Tradition.

If you're not familiar with this weave, it's used in willow basketry.  Here's a sample from the book. 
perigord Technique weaving-ის სურათის შედეგი

At first, I was going to make my piece into a wall hanging.  But then, I decided that I like it better as a decorative basket.  

 That's how the Perigord weave looks, on the last two rows.  Don't look too closely at my coiling!  I still consider myself a beginner.  And, somehow, when you're up at 3 am, functioning on 5 hours of sleep, the stitches get turned around, but you don't see it, until it's too late.😒

Saturday, October 13, 2018

For the past month or so, I've been pretty ill.  I'm not going into details.  I have no energy, I'm in pain off and on 24 hours.  Lack of appetite. Sleeping a lot, trying to adjust to medications.  HOWEVER, yes, I am weaving when I can. Yahoo! I weave a few rows, and rest. I have developed a rhythm, and learned how to conserve movement so I don't get too worn out. Feeling grateful for those moments, support from friends and family, and for times when the brain fog lifts off. This is my current project.  I'm not quite finished, just waiting for the cherry bark to dry.

                                             Still Weaving, Weaving Stillness


The background is cherry bark from Deb, poppy stems from Lei, willow from Tim or Sally.  Thanks for your contributions!

The weaving is (bottom up):  banana silk yarn, willow bark (from my yard), ramie (Asian nettle) cord, hemp cord, and western red cedar bark.  The handle is a root.  Not sure what type.

It is about 30" long, by 9" across. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Next summer (2019)

I have the honor of offering two workshops at John C. Campbell Folk School.  This is my first time teaching east of New Mexico. 

The weekend class will include meditation rocks and a basket made of tortoise shell cane.
In the weekday workshop, participants will learn how to create hand spun paper yarn, and weave several small projects. 

We will also weave some Japanese style flower baskets.

Basket styles will be adapted to participant's level of experience.  These two baskets are the beginner levels. 
          I hope you can join us!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A handle wrap on a rock

Some of you know that I have published a booklet about Japanese basketry embellishments, with an addendum on putting a knot on a rock.  Today I tried a handle wrap on a rock, and took step by step photos for you to follow. (Please see my copyright info page. The link is on the right side.)

I should have mentioned that the horizontal piece gets laid down first!

I forgot a photo here.  The next step is to tight up this knot and clip the tail.

I flipped the rock the other way when I reached the end.

The tail goes under the last lashing, and then gets tucked under the horizontal piece.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Yucca and new pieces

Banana Yucca

Curly yucca leaf fibers 

Here are some new multi-media pieces.  Ive been working with clay a lot lately.
Micaceous clay with spun paper weaving

Fox's horsehair basket, with Dana Swisher face bead.  His body is plaited and twined cedar bark, birch bark, and waxed linen.

Work in progress, ceramic bowl with coiled plant fibers

Finished bowl/ the top 4 rows are fibers that I processed from yucca leaves.  The dark blue is hemp cord, and the bottom layer consists of fibers from a plant called cordyline.  It is a relative of the yucca plant.    

What do you think? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Into a new realm

I usually don't make art w/ a message.  It's not easy to put words or pictures on a basket, and make it be meaningful.  It can be done.  There are several basketweavers who do a great job at it.  One of them is Shan Goshorn. Look at her work, if you are heading that way artistically.

In the past, I've done this a few times, by writing on my sticks, or on the paper that I spin and weave.  But lately, I was more motivated. I've been thinking about this woven piece for several years, trying to come up with a visual representation of my reaction to the horrific school shootings in the U.S.  Then, when the shootings at Marjoriy Stoneman Douglas High School occurred, I figured it out.

In ancient Aztec, Japanese, some Native American cultures, knotting on strings was a form of numerical bookkeeping.  They each had a systematic way of tying knots, or by color, or spacing to signify certain numbers.  So I have adapted this visual counting method to show the ages of the victims. 

My initial plan was to have the strings with no names, but then I realized that I needed to honor each victim by identifying their individual names and ages.

So here is Parkland Memorial. It's about 21" across.  The weaving is paper yarn and other yarns. It will be hanging at Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene, OR. May 25th until June 22nd.  Sadly, next week is the twentieth anniversary of the shootings at Thurston High School in nearby Springfield.  20 years later, and our children are still not safe in school. 

Please come and see us at the Opening Reception on the 25th, or our Demo on June 16th.  We'd love to see you!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Aug. Workshop 2018

Bloom! Yachats, OR.
Aug.4 Melon Basket, currently full, but you can get on a waiting list.
Aug.5 Meditation Rocks
Contact Sandy for more info.

Aug 18 North Coast Land Conservancy, Seaside, OR.
Coiled Basket with a variety of natural materials .
You can register right at their website, and support a great cause.

Summer Workshops 2016

July 27  Cannon Beach Arts Assn. evening- Knotless Netting wire projects
July 28 Sat. Coiled pendant around a stone


Saturday, February 24, 2018


 Momigami means kneaded paper in Japanese.  Washi paper is treated with konnyaku starch (root of devils tongue plant) and then kneaded. Konnyaku is actually a food item in Japan.  It's also called glucomannan, and comes in a powdered form.     

                              .Amorphophallus konjac CBM.png

Paper treated with konnyaku called momigami (kneaded paper) or kyoseishi (strong paper) is made both stronger and more flexible than untreated paper. Because the papers pores are coated it also becomes more wind and water resistant as well as having improved heat retention while still remaining breathable. As a lining for clothing momigami has often outlasted the textile which it lines. Paper treated with konnyaku can be crinkled up until it has the feel of cloth. The treated paper can be sewn on a sewing machine or by hand, to create paper pillows, wall hangings, and even clothing.

 You can buy konnyaku powder online at several sources.  However, since I didn't want to spend a lot of money, I purchased a small package of glucomannan powder from

I also bought some Thai unryu paper from our local art store.

I used a recipe from, scaling down the original measurements to a manageable amount. What I ended up with was a gelatinous mess, even with following the directions.  I somehow managed to spread the goop, which reminded me of both jello and rubber cement, on one side of the paper, and then put it outside to dry.  After drying, I re-heated my goop, and spread some on the other side.  (Yes, I did try adding more water, and re-heating the goop.  I added up to a cup more water, and it was still thick and lumpy.  I used my whisking tool and the electric mixer, still lumpy.)

This is how the paper looks before crumpling.  I managed to brush those little bubbles off.

When both sides were dry, I followed the crumpling up process that is described below.

So before you run to the internet for more information, I can tell you that there are several websites that give instructions for momigami paper, but they are using vegetable oil or tapioca starch.  The oil, I can't understand, because you just end up with wrinkled, oily paper. Tapioca is close (cassava root), but not the same.

Momigami      Yes, it sheds water. 

If you have had better luck with the powder recipe, please let me know!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Meditation Insight

You told me about your cancer diagnosis this fall, and I was devastated.  I had hoped to someday visit your remote part of the world, and see some of the beautiful places that you have been photographing.  I wanted to spend more time with you, since I felt a connection to you when we met.  

You have the most amazing attitude towards this insidious disease.  You say that you've lived a wonderful life, but when I read your post on your birthday, it filled me with sadness.  You said that you started off the day taking morphine for the pain, and then vomiting.  And yet, you asked for no sympathy, so I read many positive and uplifting words from your friends. You are a friend and a teacher.

I went off to my meditation group.  While I was there, I practiced metta meditation, which is repetition of a Buddhist saying,  "May all Beings be happy.  May all Beings be safe.  May all beings be at ease.  May all beings awaken to the light of their own true nature.  May all beings be free." (Or a variation of this.)  You say it directed to yourself, then to a loved one, and a person who you are neutral about.  Then you can direct it to someone you are experiencing difficulties with, and finally, all beings.

While I was thinking this, you came to my mind, as needing some recognition.  I then realized that I could also make the phrase tangible through a combination of my art practices.

At home, I went through my decorative papers, and found a piece of calligraphy paper that I had decorated with a Japanese marbling technique called suminagashi.  It involves dropping small amounts of ink from a paintbrush onto water in a tray.  Then you lay a piece of paper on it, and the paper absorbs the ink in a variety of patterns. 

I wrote a metta dedicated to you on my suminagashi paper.  Then I prepared it to create a paper cord.  I cut the paper into a continuous strip, softened it, and then spun it.  Just so everyone knows, commercial calligraphy paper isn't the best for spinning.  (At the art stores, it comes in a pad or roll.)

The metta paper cord is now part of a little basket.  The bottom portion is bamboo fiber 'paper,' which I love because you can see little flecks of the bamboo sheaths or leaves still in the paper. Also, some parts of the bowl are translucent.  The upper portion starts out with waxed linen, then the metta paper cord, and ending in waxed linen again.  It's all done in knotless netting.

So this piece is dedicated to you, and all others needing some healing.

In gratitude, Donna
I've also written this saying on other woven pieces, like the one below.

                             You can see part of the writing on the top portion of the leaf.

How do you incorporate compassion and caring into your art?

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Empty Boats

"There's a Zen story in which a man is enjoying himself on a river at dusk. He sees another boat coming down the river toward him.

At first it seems so nice to him that someone else is also enjoying the river on a nice summer evening. Then he realizes that the boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster.

He begins to yell, "Hey, hey, watch out! For Pete's sake, turn aside!" But the boat just comes right at him faster and faster. By this time he's standing up in his boat, screaming and shaking his fist, and then the boat smashes right into him. He sees that it's an empty boat.

This is the classic story on our whole life situation. There are a lot of empty boats out there.

We're always screaming and shaking our fists at them. Instead, we could let them stop our minds. Even if they only stop our mind for one point one seconds, we can rest in that little gap.

When the story line starts, we can do the tonglen practice of exchanging ourselves for others. In this way everything we meet has the potential to help us cultivate compassion and reconnect with the spacious, open quality of our minds."

Pema Chodron 

Empty Boats-micaceous clay, shifu (handspun paper yarn weaving)