The Northwest Basket Weavers – Vi Phillips Basketry Guild started with 16 people who were traditional basketmakers and who met in their homes on a regular basis; they formalized their group into our Guild in 1982. From this beginning the group has grown to over 200 members from 9 states and 3 Canadian Provinces.
The Guild name recognizes Vi Phillips because she was the first Teacher in the group, and had a great fascination, curiosity, and passion for all kinds of traditional baskets, interests that continue in our membership today and which have expanded to include contemporary and/or less functional forms.
The Guild is a nonprofit organization with special interests in:
– the promotion and preservation of the art of basketry;
– the study practice, sharing and teaching of basketry weaving techniques;
– the identification, collection and appreciation of diverse examples of basketry;
– the gathering and use of natural materials.
We hold Meetings on the second Wednesday of each month (except July, August and December) where we socialize and enjoy a special presentation by an invited presenter. Our November meeting is a potluck and holiday gift exchange, and our March meeting our Annual Business meeting. Zoom meetings during Covid (beginning spring 2020) allowed our non-local members to participate; we now hold hybrid meetings, both in-person and on Zoom to maintain these connections.
Outreach is a major focus of our Guild, including workshops and demonstrations. Workshops include an annual 5 day retreat, Weave in Spring, currently held in May, plus several one day workshops scattered throughout the year, including Coiling Convergence and Mary Irvine Basket Day. Guild members demonstrate basketry at Seattle’s Folk Life Festival as well as other events across the region. The Guild also offers grants so that members and in some cases non-members can participate in programs both national and international.