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Our guild was started officially in January, 1990, by an enthusiastic 30 basketweavers who gathered together in the basement of a bank in Mariemont that gave us their meeting space for the night.  Kim Henninger and Linda Wallpe, our co-founders, got the members of the newly formed guild to see opportunities for basketweavers outside of Cincinnati.  

 

We started by having well known basketweavers come to special classes held for our own members.  Then the craze happened when their were state conventions where many known teachers gathered in huge halls to teach all levels to anyone who wanted to join them.  We even had our own conference sponsored by members Mary Lou Volkman and Judy Dominic called the Midwest Basketry Focus.  That was where we met Dorothy Gill Barnes from Columbus, Oh who taught about weaving with natural materials such as vines and bark.

 

In the 1993 we had an exhibition at the Carnegie Arts Center with 21 weavers showing their best work.  Kim, Linda, and Wendy Linck went to Tom and Connie's Week long camp to learn how to cut down a tree, how to split the oak or cut the hickory bark and make baskets from start to finish.  And in 1994 we got to know Flo Hoppe, the queen of twining.  We had many classes with Fred and Kay Kohler until our houses were filled with Nantucket like baskets.  This was a glorious time for basketweavers.

As we had established our mission during those early years, the purpose of the Guild "shall be volunteering to perpetuate the art of basketry, to stimulate interest and knowledge in all phases of basketry, and to promote public interest in the historic craft."  And so we got right down to demonstrating and sharing our knowledge at the yearly Appalachian Festival at Old Coney, 34 years ago.  This was also one of our venues where members could sell baskets.  

Part of the joy of being a member of our guild throughout the years has been the fellowship created between members, outside weavers and teachers.  We are all incredible women and were glad to spend time together. 

Everyone has fond memories of attending our annual Fall Picnic and/or Christmas parties.  A special thank you goes out to Linda Mitchusson and Georgann Bates who shared their summer cottage and holiday home with us.

Recently we have ramped up having classes for beginners who are interested in learning how to make a basket to try to grow our guild again.  Margie Hayes is our best teacher who designs the baskets and makes the kits.  We email anyone who has signed up for more information at the Appalachian Festival and the Gathering of the Guilds.  Then Vicki Nicolaci handles the sign up list and collects the money.

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ABOUT our Ohio Valley Basketweavers'Guild

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