Create a beautiful basket with Ralph Simpson, one of New Brunswick’s top fibre weavers, using natural plant fibres – twigs, grasses, leaves etc. A great day of fun for family and friends!
This one-day workshop will be an opportunity for beginner and intermediate basket weavers to explore the use of plant fibre in the construction of a small basket. You will learn about foraging for plant fibres like common rush, iris blades, and lily leaves. Ralph will be demonstrating methods of processing and storing the material, as well as several weaving techniques to help you complete your basket in a day. Most materials are supplied, but you are welcome to bring your own fibres – wool, fabric, ribbon etc to incorporate and individualize your own creation.
Ralph Simpson is an artist working in basketry and sculptural plant-fibre weaving, with a background in forest biology. He is developing techniques and researching plant materials for use in his art. Materials include wood fibre (ash, birch, maple, spruce, cedar, willow), tree bark (cedar, birch, willow, ash, poplar, maple ), grasses, garden plants (iris, day lily, Dracena sp.), handmade paper, and natural threads (cotton, linen, wool) – for the most part, collected in local fields, marshes, and forests, adhering to harvest principles based on environmental integrity and sustainability.
Ralph has studied basic traditional North American Aboriginal weaving techniques in New Brunswick and Maine, USA. Sensitive to issues of appropriation, he is always careful to search out new materials and develop his own style. His innate connection with the natural world, field, forest, and wetland is expressed in his work, combining traditional weaving techniques with innovative materials to create a contemporary art form.
He has featured in numerous exhibitions and has been one of our Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation Artists in Residence in 2020.