In 1997 Joan Carrigan invited a small group of interested basketmakers to come together and share their interest in learning basketry. A year later, in 1998, the group was formally recognized as a "Guild" by the Arts' Council and the Salt Spring Island Basketry Guild was "born". The membership has grown over the years with the majority of members living on Salt Spring Island (on the west coast of British Columbia). However, there are members from other parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and even Europe.
The Guild has maintained an informal structure with volunteer (non-elected) positions for Treasurer, Membership, and Website/Facebook and Guild Email/Contact. All members are invited to participate in the Guild's program planning meeting which takes place in August each year. The Guild's membership year runs from September to August, meeting regularly throughout the year. The Guild aims to educate guild members in the traditions and history of basketry and to encourage its members to share basketry skills and inspire each other.
Guild members enjoy:
The meetings offer a social time to catch up with friends and a "show and tell" opportunity for members' work and activities. Since some members do not live close enough to participate in the meetings, email is an important tool for member-to-member communication and announcements. The introduction of the Guild website and Facebook page will also keep members updated on basketry news and events.
- guest speakers on basketry-related topics, such as the history of basketry, basketmakers' travels and professional basketry artists and their work
- hands-on learning of traditional and contemporary basketry techniques for all levels of experience
- special workshops with well-known instructors
- material gathering and preparation
- field trips
- social events
- opportunities to show/exhibit work
- information on basketry-related events offered by other groups
The Guild offers a varied program each year. There are "hands-on" activities led by Guild members and special workshops by invited basketmakers and artists. When registration is limited, Guild members are given priority.
Social events, often in members' homes, are a much-anticipated part of the Guild year. Each September, members enjoy a "Welcome Back" social event to launch the new program. In December, there is a Christmas party. During the summer, members and their families are invited to a potluck, often combined with gathering indigenous materials, like tule or honeysuckle vine.
Every couple of years the Guild holds a fundraising "Auction" - a lively event where members donate their surplus basketry materials, books and other recycled treasures. Field trips are a stimulating part of the program. Field trips have included visits to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, gallery exhibitions, a provincial park for a guided walk with an ethnobotanist identifying plants used in indigenous basketry, plus other local and international trips.
Through the Guild, members strive to learn about the many traditions and techniques of basketry and to share their knowledge with each other and their communities. Many members have volunteered to demonstrate basketry techniques and teach young basketmakers in SSI schools and other community venues. Each year the Basketry Section is one of the most anticipated at Salt Spring's annual Fall Fair.
Guild members' work has been regularly "Showcased" at the Salt Spring Island Arts' Council summer exhibition/sale. The Guild has collaborated with the SSI Potters' Guild to present joint works in two special exhibitions. Guild members have co-exhibited with the SSI Woodworkers' Guild in two other gallery shows.
A number of Guild members have memberships in basketry guilds in the US and Europe thus encouraging guild-to-guild information and networking.
SSI Basketry Guild members create a wide variety of traditional and contemporary baskets in a range of materials: some are locally grown and harvested, others are purchased, and still others are found or recycled.
Whatever materials are used, the Guild's purpose is to promote the art of basketry and to encourage its members to share their passion with others. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in baskets. Please see our MembershipForm PDF for more details.
The Salt Spring Island Basketry Guild aspires to
Encourage, Educate and Have Fun!