My name is Penny Hewitt. I am a craftsperson, teacher, homesteader, and homeschooling mom. I live with my family on a diversified farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Through the curiosity of my sons, I became fascinated with and then passionate about revitalizing and passing on traditional skills, particularly in the forms of black ash and birch bark basketry. Working with responsibly harvested and hand-processed materials from the forest surrounding my home, I seek to create objects of beauty that are useful in everyday life. I am inspired by traditions of other cultures, and grateful for the opportunities of connection to people, place, nature, and self that my craft cultivates. My experience with weaving includes teaching workshops, leading homeschool groups, one on one lessons, volunteering time to share skills, crafting for income and always looking for opportunities to advance my skill set.
Make your own basket and in the process learn one of the oldest crafts in human history. For thousands of years baskets served as indispensable objects in every culture. Carry on the tradition and take home a beautiful, durable and useful basket crafted from local and responsibly harvested, birch bark or hand pounded black ash logs. Take a scheduled workshop or host your own.
~Black Ash Berry Basket ~ Weave a round basket, approximately 6”x 6” with optional strap in a six hour class that includes a discussion on how the material is harvested and processed. This is a great class for ages 8 to adult.
~Mixed Bark Foraging Basket~ Start with a black ash base and use a variety of barks to create your own unique design. Add a leather strap and you are ready for a mushroom walk, patch of wild berries or a convenient place by the door to put your keys or mail. One day workshop for adults and teens.
~Black Ash Pack Basket ~ Weave an approximately 18” tall traditional Adirondack pack basket with cedar runners and base and adjustable harness. This basket is made to last and be used. The workshop is two full days and will include a discussion on how the material is harvested and processed. There is also the option of adding a half day to this workshop, so students can have the opportunity to pound a black ash log to acquire their own material. This is a great class for teens and adults.
~Birch Bark Basket ~ Weave a small diagonal plaited birch bark basket in a four hour class that includes a discussion on how the material is sustainably harvested and processed. This class is for teens and adults.
~Birch Bark Pouch~ Weave a diagonal plaited birch bark pouch, approximately 6″x 8″x 2″ with a leather flap and strap; great as a small purse or tool pouch. This is a two-day class that includes a discussion on how birch bark is sustainably harvested and processed. This class is for teens and adults.
~Birch Bark Wallet~ Weave a diagonal plaited birch bark wallet with a leather flap. This is a one day class that includes a discussion of how birch bark is sustainably harvested and processed. This class is for teens and adults.
~Birch Bark Ornaments ~ Enjoy the simple pleasure of creating a decoration or gift from materials responsibly harvested on my Northeast Kingdom farm. Utilizing techniques common to the Scandinavian and Russian style of basketry, you will craft birds and stars using strips of inner bark from the paper birch in this three hour workshop. You will also learn how these materials are harvested and prepared. This class is for teens, adults and younger children/adult pairs.
~Willow Tension Trays~ Craft a simple serving tray or trivet from locally harvested willow and red osier. Learn some basic weaving techniques and take home a useful handmade item that looks great hanging on the wall when not in use. This is a three hour class for ages 10 and up or as young as 5 with an adult helper.
If you are interested in scheduling or hosting a workshop, please email me.
Workshops and Demonstrations
February 25th~ Black Ash Berry Baskets in Montpelier. Contact Lindsey Warren for registration: email@example.com
March 20th~ Willow Trays in Jeffersonville. FULL
June 28-30~Sloyd Skills Gathering in Stannard VT. A weekend of traditional handcraft workshops. I will be teaching birch bark wallets and stars. Many other workshops. Website link to come.
July 6th~ Black Ash Berry Baskets at Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts in Ludlow VT
July 14th~ Black Ash Berry Baskets at Free Verse Farm in Chelsea VT.
July 20th~ Black Ash Berry Baskets at Wandering Roots Farm inFletcher VT. Pick your own blueberries into your newly made basket!
August 11-17th~ Traditional Ways Gathering in WI. Birch bark ornaments
October 12th and 13th~ Apples and Crafts in Woodstock VT. Selling and demonstrating.
November 2nd~ Birch Bark Ornaments at Railyard Apothecary in Burlington VT
November 9th~Birch Bark Ornaments at Fletcher Farm School for Arts and Crafts in Ludlow VT
November 17th~Birch Bark Ornaments at River Arts in Morrisville VT.
November 20th~ Birch Bark Ornaments at Gardner’s Supply in Burlington VT
November 24th~Birch Bark Ornaments at Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro VT
November 30th~Birch bark Ornaments at Sugar House Workshop in Sandgate VT
December 3rd~ Birch Bar Ornaments at Grace in Hardwick VT
December 7th~Birch Bark Ornaments at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury VT
Please ask about custom orders. Shipping is in addition to the prices given.
Birch Bark Wallets
18″ high, leather harness $300 or webbing harness $250
Smaller, 12-14″ high with leather harness $225
Birch Bark Ornaments
Stars $20 + $5 shipping no matter how many you get!
Birds $20+ $5 shipping no matter how many you get!
Birch Bark Pouches
$90 $120 $150 $100
Top left, $65, top right $100, bottom $100
Black ash baskets with leather strap. Great for berry picking or hanging by the door for keys and mail. Larger ones available for mittens and hats or bigger harvesting opportunities!
Mixed bark foraging baskets or purses
Birch Bark Card Holder/Wallet