Sandra Kehoe

Basketmaker & Willow Artist

John C. Campbell Folk School with Jo Campbell-Amsler

Still catching up on my summer travels, and no summer is complete without a trip to the John C. Campbell Folk School. I’ve made it my goal to visit this school at least once a year for my foreseeable future.

This was my third summer visiting and my third time taking a week long class in willow basket making. This summer I had the honor of working with Jo Campbell-Amsler, the queen of willow rib baskets. She is one of my favorite teachers by far; her knowledge and calm way of teaching creates the most “zen-like” few days. I had the honor of working with her last summer in New Jersey so it was so nice to spend another 5 days working with her at JCC.

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I always try to do at least one or two walks around the fields and gardens. This is such a very special school and I highly recommend looking into their classes. If you look back in my blog you will see many more pictures and highlights from my trips here.

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The main focus I had for my time this week was making a basket with lids. Jo teaches a gorgeous sewing basket with two lids that I had my heart set on. Little did I know this amazing basket would be taking me three full days to complete, but it was worth every minute. The picture above was at the end of day two.

So this time at the folk school I decided to try camping in their campgrounds. It was my first attempt at using my Tentsile Tree Tent. I have to say, this was the most comfortable sleeping arrangement I’ve ever had on a camping trip. It takes minutes to set up and take down and I felt extra secure being up off the ground. By chance I was so lucky to find out that my friend Colleen who took classes with me the last two years was also camping and taking the same class as me.

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The Folk School is so special and makes you feel just like the door to the main hall says, “welcome home.”

Once I finished my sewing basket I had one more day so I moved as fast as I could to whip up a backpack. I had purchased leather straps for a different backpack I made, but didn’t fit. Fortunately Jo’s backpack pattern used those exact straps, so I was determined to make one to fit. Honestly even though I felt like I rushed it, this backpack is now my favorite basket that I use all the time. It comes with me whenever I go hiking out in the woods.

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Below is a picture of myself and Colleen. “Basket Buddies” for life ;)

Hope to see her again in the future for maybe another great willow class!!!!

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