Sandra Kehoe

Basketmaker & Willow Artist

Birch Bark Weaving with Vladimir Yarish

It is so hard to compare all the wonderful weaving experiences I have had this summer, but this quick one day class with Vladimir is at the top of my list.   A day before I was due to leave on my biggest trip of the summer I just had to squeeze in the opportunity to check out the Adirondack Folk School up in New York. 

Unbeknown to me was the fact that Vladimir only travels to the USA once every two or three years.  I learned that it could possibly be three more years before we see him here again, and I can't help but feel that my "crazy" decision was a very smart one.

I feel super lucky to have worked with Vladimir and have the experience that everyone who has ever worked with him can attest to.  I would say his classes are not for those who are ok with mediocrity.  Vladimir took apart some of my work because it was not as good as it could be.  As a perfectionist myself, working with a teacher who demands things are done correctly it was right up my alley.  Never have I ever felt like the "teachers pet" but somehow that was exactly was I was going for.  Working hard to achieve perfection has never felt so rewarded.  

 

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I'm also glad that I decided to go with one of the advanced projects.  I have done many plaited baskets before so I knew it would just be a matter of learning a new material.  And I really wanted to work more with spruce roots that line the top of this gorgeous little basket.

Things started off great and I felt comfortable with what I was doing.  I remember someone saying how birch bark is the Queen of all barks.  I think I'd have to agree with that; such strength and durability, but yet still silky and smooth.  Vladimir gave great instruction and only a little scolding when there was excess talking going on in the room LOL.  I had such a great time learning from him and I most certainly will be on the lookout for classes with him in the future.     

I was also so grateful to be able to purchase more birch bark and the tools that Vladimir makes for weaving.  I also couldn't go home without one of his gorgeous trays, which now sits on my coffee table as quite honestly one of my favorite purchases EVER! 

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