BASKETMAKER HOBNOBS WITH FIRST COUPLE
Sandy Drexler of MS Creations is pictured above with President and Mrs. Clinton during the Christmas season when she visited the nation's capitol. Sandy's son was a videograher and traveled with President Clinton on Air Force One. (3/12/98)
When Deb Curtis requested an Online Basketmaker listing and stated that she is The Handweavers Guild of America Certificate of Excellence in Basket Weaving Chairperson for 1999 judging, we asked her if she would please help us tell our visitors about the Certificate program. It took her only one day to respond. We thank her for her information which follows:
There are two levels to the Certificate of Excellence in Basketweaving. Level I is design, color theory, actual dyeing of reed with natural and synthetic dyes, basketry samples, and research papers. The basketry samples and papers are the parts which take some time to complete. There are 24 samples that need to be woven that cover the broad range of basket weaving techniques and styles. Some examples are diagonal plaiting, twill, coiled and knotless netting. These are judged based on technical skill and execution. The research papers are on natural basket weaving materials.
Level II is a specialized study and in-depth research. You would need to submit an outline and statement of purpose that three reviewers look over and give suggestions on. These reviewers work independently and remain anonymous to each other and to you. You then make corrections and resubmit your outline and statement of purpose for judging. Before you can get your Level II you must pass the Level I. Both can be submitted in the same year or Level II can be submitted for any judging after you have passed Level I.
Judging occurs every two years. The next one will be in April, 1999. Registration forms and preliminary application forms are due Sept. 1, 1998. The final application, and if you are applying for Level II the approved outline and statement of purpose, are all due Nov. 1, 1998. To get a registration form contact the Handweavers Guild of America, Two Executive Concourse, Suite 201, 3327 Duluth Highway, Dulth, GA 30096-3380, phone (770) 495-7702 or e-mail the HGA or e-mail Deb Curtis. You may also visit the HGA website.
I urge all of you to strongly consider this and to get the information. Judging is always done anonymously and if you don't pass you can make improvements based on the judges comments and resubmit in the future. The registrar does know who you are but she is sworn to secrecy under the threat of the Basket Deity who cracks spokes, breaks handles and frustrates us all. -- Deb Curtis (11/2/97)
<----Anna Marie Lansman's BasCat "Silver"
The story of reed and pesticides is not a simple answer. Traditionally the rattan poles from which the reed is cut were gathered in the remote jungles far from any pesticides or other industrial chemicals. They were then boiled in a mixture of diesel and coconut oil to remove the resins. After this treatment they were subject to being treated with burning sulfur to both kill any later insect i nfestation and to sometimes bleach the poles. The next time they would receive any chemical treatment would be the mandatory fumigation of the container before shipment to the USA. Methyl bromide is the usual fumigant.
The complications from this simple picture are many. The reed we import now is cut in China a country that is dependent on other countries for the raw rattan. Some of the rattan poles come from Viet Nahm a country whose forests received massive doses of defoliants during the Viet Nahm War. I do not have direct knowledge of any contamination of the rattan but have my suspicions. Also the cut reed from China may be treated with a bleach to give it a uniform color and softness. The bleaching also removes some of the silica which if left in would cause brittlness. I do not know what is used for the bleach. When I was in the factories in China they would not tell me the chemicals used and all the barrels were labeled in Chinese. Someone later told me calcium dioxide but I was not sure they had understood the question. Some times when I open a bale of reed I will smell the odor of acetic acid, where this gets introduced I do not know.
All of the manufacturers verbally assure us there are no harmful chemical residuals left in the cut reed. I know of no suspicions of harmful effects but I would still err on the side of caution as there could be a problem of which we are unaware. At this point I believe the reed is no more dangerous than many of the items we consume all the time. I changed my career as a chemist twenty years ago because I suspected many of my associates were dying of the effects of what we were told then were harmless chemicals. I hope I am answering more questions than I am raising here.
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