When I first heard about the Kids National Basket Weaving Day event, I thought “This is a great idea!” and as I quickly learned, many people also find this new initiative amazing!
Therefore, whether you are signed up to participate or not, it’s worthwhile getting to know about this day (the first time this event will be held is on June 27th 2020).
And what better place to share this information than Weavers around the World. It matches the focus of an international community perfectly and the focus on sharing knowledge is very much aligned with what this website and community is all about.
There are a few people behind this project but I have had the pleasure of being in touch with Laura Lee Zanger, one of the founders behind this project, and asked her a few questions, which you can read below including her answers.
1. Why did you decide to make a Kids National Basket Weaving Day?
Because it was apparent that the number of weavers was declining all over America. The older weavers were retiring because of age or illness and some, sadly, have passed away. I saw that we needed new and younger weavers to pass on what we know so that basketry would be around for future generations.
2. Who are the people behind this project? And I guess it’s going to be every year in the future, right?
We will consider an annual event when we see how this one goes. The people behind this event are the basket weavers who have committed to the cause and have contributed their talent and ideas in ways that were needed when they were needed. It continues with every new sign-up of a contact person for a host group. Most people don’t even know how helpful they have been. I cannot name them all and don’t want to leave anyone out. Therefore, I’ve let them know in a personal way how important they are to this project. It cannot be accomplished by one person. It is truly a grassroots project. Each person participating is part of the spokes in the wheels that we roll on. We have a lot of spokes and a lot of wheels. Our basket cart is rolling all over the world. It is awesome how we all are coming together.
3. How can people get involved and also, are there different ways to assist? And just out of curiosity, how many are involved to this date?
Currently there are 84 contacts from five countries. Any basket weaver from any community can host their own event. I feel that each person can manage six students. If the weaver is part of a group then their event can be quite large, but even one lowly weaver can have a successful event on that day bringing six new weavers to our worldwide basket community. All the numbers matter when combined.
If someone feels that teaching isn’t their thing, they can still help by handling the paperwork associated with the event. Someone needs to accept the registration and make certain that the waiver and release forms are signed. There are also post event forms to be filled out with the new weaver information so they can be contacted for Kids Basket Camps or other classes for beginners. We will need hosts and hostesses for refreshments when the weaving is completed. These will be our newest members to the basket family and we want to get to know them better. There are many ways to help and I know everyone is already buzzing with their own ideas. The information I share is what is in my mind, but it is just one mind. Two heads are better than one and three are even better. Basket weavers all over the world are putting their heads together for the cause. It’s a beautiful thing.
4. What do you hope to achieve by having this event? Do you have a goal for the day or similar?
Our goal is to connect to new people interested in learning to weave. We want young people, children and young adults. We won’t turn a grandmother away if she accompanies a child. There are some pretty young grandmothers these days. I expect that these family members will bond while making their baskets. They will enjoy it so much that they will want to experience that good feeling again and again. Remember that younger people have young friends. We all know what that can mean. All we need to do is offer them another opportunity to weave and learn. The children will grow into their basketry as they return for Basket Camps. The adults can jump right in and join our guilds. Some host groups may form a children’s basket guild that meets once a month. The ideas are endless. This is only the beginning. I see those children loving basketry so much and by college age they are selling their baskets for extra money like one young woman I met in Florida.
5. Anything else you would like to share with everyone?
June 27 2020 will be life changing, but the change has already begun as we all come together planning for this event. Everyone is passionate about this adventure. They are eager to receive all the information I have promised and are ready to get down to business for their local event. We have a year before the event, but there is much to do as we organize for the event. Our timeline of when to do what begins in January. I have no doubt that this will be successful. We just need more contacts for more events in more communities.
Mathilde, thank you for what you are doing to get the word out. You are one of the people behind this project.
To all you readers out there, I hope this ‘conversation’ has sparked something in you and perhaps you would even like to get involved somehow.
The project has a Facebook group, which you can find and join by clicking here.
A huge thanks to Laura for taking some of her time out to be part of this blog post, as I’m sure it’s a busy time before this international event.
Mathilde Bach Stougaard is the Founder of Weavers around the World with a passion for the arts and her mother is a willow maker on a hobby basis.
Laura Lee Zanger