About the Course
Different countries and cultures use a wide variety of natural materials and construction styles to make baskets.
This course will focus on basketry that has a place in the history of Saskatchewan. Willow ribbed or frame baskets
(sometimes called hoop and handle baskets) were made and used by European settlers when they first arrived in
Canada and in our province. This “farmer made basket” was strong, relatively easy to make and very useful.
Canada's First Nations Peoples already had many uses for willow and quickly adapted the ribbed basket to their
needs as well.
The overall objective is to provide participants with all the necessary skills and knowledge to continue to make
willow baskets on their own following the course. We will examine our Saskatchewan willows; learn what, when
and how to collect as well as how to store and prepare the materials for use. We will make frames both with and
without handles and we will learn to weave. Willow is a very versatile plant and can be used in many ways. We
will find a time to talk about arbors, trellises, sculpture, furniture and the other interesting and creative things that
people do with willow.
We will also find a time to explore the Ness Creek site and surrounding area. Depending on what we find we may
even do some respectful harvesting.
– Each participant will complete 3 or 4 baskets, with and without handles.
– Each participant will make a frame or frames for use following the course.
– Participants will have all the knowledge and skills necessary to continue to make ribbed baskets.
Morley Maier has been making willow baskets as a hobby for about 25 years. The baskets he makes are
traditional ribbed or frame baskets. This very old style of basketry was important and useful to the Europeans who first settled our country and our province. Morley's preference is to make strong and functional baskets that can be used as they were first intended; as containers to carry and store things.
Morley enjoys teaching the skills of basketry and for several years prior to its closure had been an instructor for the
U. of S. at their Arts and Ecology Kenderdine Campus.
Morley and fellow basket maker, Shelly Westberg have had the honour of providing baskets for the former Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan to give as gifts from the province to various heads of state and other dignitaries from Canada and many other countries around the world. Included in the list of recipients is Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Morley is currently a director on the boards of Nature Saskatchewan and the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association. He is also is a juried member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council. His work has been selected several times to be part of “Dimensions,” the SCC's traveling fine craft exhibition. He has also received two SCC
awards; the Merit Award and the award for Excellence in Functional and Production Ware.
Morley and his wife Paula are now retired and live on their farm near Yorkton. While they still have a small cow herd and remain connected to the farm much of their time is spent in their yard and garden, watching and photographing birds, studying and growing native plants, canoeing and camping and looking for every excuse and
opportunity to be outdoors.
This course requires no prior training or knowledge.
What You Need To Bring
utility knife with retractable blade
hand pruning shears
work clothes or an apron (willows can stain just a bit!)
baskets or other willow creations you might have – we will take some time for “willow talk.”
What Is Provided
Morley will provide all other necessary materials