Learn more about Looped, Twined & Woven Keepsake Pouches

Judith Saunders is a mixed-media artist who has been weaving three-dimensional forms with copper and handpainted papers for more than thirty years. Her plaited paper and copper forms can be seen in the book Plaited Basketry with Birch Bark by Vladimir Yarish, Flo Hoppe, and Jim Widess. A retired Norfolk Public Schools art educator, Judith loves teaching at the Folk School and has also taught basketry workshops in Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. She is currently a member of the National Basketry Organization, Handweavers Guild of America, and the Artisans Center of Virginia, as well as several regional associations and guilds. We are lucky to have Judith join us at the Folk School on March 17-23 to teach this wonderful class on creating unique one-of-a-kind pouches. 

Read more about Judith and her class in our interview below! 

JCCFS: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your background in your medium? How did you get started?

JS: I’m a retired Norfolk Public Schools art instructor. While teaching, I was required to periodically take classes for recertification credits. In the mid 1980’s, I took a workshop in metals with David LaPlantz followed by another week in plaited basketry with Shereen LaPlantz, both at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. The workshops were intense and enhanced my instruction. While I did not have another basketry workshop until I retired in 2002, I continued weaving on my own. Throughout the years, I discovered my passion for basket weaving. When I retired, I joined the National Basketry Organization and the Handweavers Guild of America and attended conventions annually taking classes with several different instructors and working with as many materials as possible.

JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming weeklong Basketry class, “Looped, Twined & Woven Keepsake Pouches” from March 17-23. It’s for all levels, correct?

JS: I designed this class to focus on multiple techniques that can be used in numerous creations. Students are not just making a pouch. They will learn looping techniques that can be helpful in numerous ways. They’ll understand the basic basket technique of twining and its advantages and also experience basic basket techniques using a variety of materials, just on a smaller scale than traditional baskets. This class is beginner friendly but also open to all levels.

JCCFS: What can students expect to leave with? 

JS: Students will leave with at least three pouches, each featuring different techniques. Students will gain a wealth of first hand experience and develop skills that can they can transfer to larger projects, projects not limited to just pouches. Each student should leave class with the confidence to work independently on future creations.

Examples of pouches that will be made in class.

Bark used in many styles of baskets, such as Judith’s pouches .

Judith with her prized woven copper piece.

Judith’s wonderful copper basket.

JCCFS: You have been teaching here for many years, What is your favorite part of the Folk School? What do you most look forward to when coming back to teach on our campus? 

JS: I love the fact that the Folk School encourages a workshop format where participants can experiment and are not being graded. I like that students have the opportunity to share their work at the end of the week and have the opportunity to see what other’s have done!

JCCFS:  I love closing ceremony as well! Where do you draw inspiration from for your work? 

JS: I think that just being at the Folk School encourages creativity and inspiration! Sharing time with like minded people is always a benefit.

JCCFS: What’s one piece or craft object you’ve made recently that you are proud of, and why? 

JS: I have just delivered six new pieces for a small craft show in Hampton, VA. Two of the six are woven with painted paper strips, one with all copper strips, one half paper strips, half copper strips, one random weave with various gauges of copper wire with smooth rocks embedded in the wires and one that it is completely twined with waxed cotton cords. These creations demonstrate my passion for weaving with multiple techniques and materials.

JCCFS: Wow! Very impressive Judith! Any advice you would give to an aspiring craftsperson?

JS:I recommend anyone interested in the arts and crafts to take many workshops, not just one time, or one project classes. The in depth experience gained in a one or two week workshop is invaluable. Just keep learning and exploring your interests!

JCCFS: Thanks for your time Judith.

JS: You’re welcome! I look forward to being at the Folk School.

Upcoming Class with Judith

Looped, Twined & Woven Keepsake Pouches

March 17-23, 2023

Work with several basketry techniques and a variety of materials including bark, twine, and cordage, to create three or more wearable pouches. Each technique produces a different appearance for each unique pouch. Bring an assortment of personal keepsakes to incorporate in your one-of-a-kind creations.

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