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 preserving 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 and crafting for income.
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.
~Black Ash Berry Basket ~ Weave a round basket, approximately 6”x 6” with optional strap in a five hour class that includes a discussion on how the material is harvested and processed. This is a great class for ages 10 to adult.
~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 class is two full days and will include a discussion on how the material is harvested and processed. 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 and a half 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 6 with an adult helper.
If you are interested in scheduling or hosting a workshop, please email me.
Scheduled Public Workshops
December 1st 2018 ~ Birch Bark Ornaments at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury, VT
December 9th 2018~ Birch Bark Ornaments at River Arts in Morrisville, VT
February 25th~ Black Ash Berry Baskets in Montpelier. Contact Lindsey Warren for registration: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Black Ash Pack Baskets
Birch Bark Wallets
Birch Bark Pouches
Please ask about custom orders. Shipping is in addition to the prices given.
Birch Bark Wallets
18″ high, leather harness $300
webbing harness $250
Birch Bark Ornaments
Birch Bark Pouches
Birch Bark Card Holder/Wallet