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National Basketry Organization (NBO)

NBO's mission is to be a national, nonprofit educational organization designed to foster an environment in which both traditional and contemporary basketry are understood and valued as art forms. They seek to work in a collaborative atmosphere to pursue the highest levels of craftsmanship and creativity.

NBO was formed in 1999.
Subscription and membership information is available through the NBO website.

NBO's Web site can be found at: Their e-mail address is

Calling all Basket Guilds:
Connecting the Guilds!
The number of basketry guilds across the country is astounding. Some have six or seven members; some have hundreds. Some just get together and weave periodically; others have websites and conferences. If you plotted them out and drew lines between them they would hold the country together in a big net.

These guilds are critical to the future of basketry. Guilds can do things a national organization can never do like providing educational opportunities all over the country all year round! But one thing NBO can do is help those guilds connect.

Last year NBO started offering free memberships to guilds and the number that have signed up is growing steadily. Now we are ready to take the next step. Later this spring we will be forming an advisory group of representatives of guilds from every region.

The purpose of this council will be to keep the board informed of what is going on in the guilds and of what NBO can do to strengthen and support guilds. We also hope the group will take on some specific tasks; perhaps, for example, a directory of instructors that we can put on the website. We would love to have a regular column on guild activity in the Quarterly Review and a guild-oriented feature in the newsletter.

And we are hoping that guilds will send us more photographs of their members’ work and of their workshops. Proud as we are of all these members who exhibit their work, we know lots of beautiful baskets are being made…and we want to see them!

Special sessions on guilds at the conference are a possibility as well as the development of other website services. Our goal is to find ways that guilds can learn from each other and share ideas.

Because this is a new group we will be interested in hearing how members want it to operate as it evolves. If your guild is a member, you will be getting information about how the council will operate and a request for nominations. The NBO Board will make the final selection to make sure we have people from all over with a variety of interests.

See: NBO Membershop

Following is an excerpt from NBO's 3rd newsletter:
"Looking at Baskets with a Critical Eye: To Help You Improve Your Work" by Mary Irvine...As basket makers, when we develop our work we are always stopping to ask ourselves if we like a piece we have completed or not. But, if we were really stopping to critique our work, what are some of the things we would be looking at? And, are there differences in the criteria if you are looking at it yourself or submitting it to a judged competition? By learning more about what others look at as they jury baskets we can better critique our own work to help as we submit our work for juried shows.
One resource is Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot, Spring 2000...
...Puyallup Fair decided to set up a separate category for baskets, I was asked to be the first judge for the category. The categories and percentage weights used were the same as for the other fiber arts categories: Craftsmanship 40%, Degree of Difficulty 20%, Design 20%, and Presentation 20%. As you can see, the emphasis here, 60% of the total, is on craftsmanship and technical ability...CRAFTSMANSHIP: overall technique; finishing/outside & inside; attention to detail; joining; rims/edges; sits evenly; shaping control; evenness of stiches/spokes; appropriateness of materials to form/function/durability; if a utilitarian basket - how durable/sturdy. DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: materials used in relation to execution; style/technique in relation to execution. DESIGN: proportion; balance; line; use of color; individuality, originality, or interpretation of a traditional style. PRESENTATION: choice/use of materials; use of embellishment; how appropriate; overall appearance; judges discretion...
So, if you want to improve the quality of your work, what can you do?... Strive for vitality and originality. Practice, master the technique. Work in a series, repeat, make changes and improvements. Develop a line of work. Get comparisons, be aware of what is happening out there at the present and how it is or not influenced by historical work. Check out books, magazines, shows, galleries, the Internet.
Remember to stop and look at what you are doing and ask questions...."what if"...overall design, is it aesthetically pleasing, if the design and materials flow, the relationship of shape and size, the appropriateness of technique and materials, your technical execution. And, most important of all, what is your "gut" reaction to the piece? Do you like it? Are you happy with it? A good basket pleases the eye, it works from the standpoint of form, technique, scale, and materials...

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The Country Seat, Inc.
Basketry, Gourd Weaving & Chair Seating Supplies
1013 Old Philly Pike
Kempton, Pennsylvania 19529-9321 USA
Phone: 610-756-6124
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