Braided Flag Iris Basket

For additional info on how to braid see Giihlgiigaa – Haida Weaver’s website:


March Break Weaving Fun

Recommended Reading

A number of books have been recommended to The Urban Weaver Project, both by the organizers and participants. Below is a list of books that are currently referenced at The Urban Weaver Project. If you know of a book that would benefit the group, feel free to bring it along with you next time you visit, we’d love to check it out!

Women’s Work: The First 20,000 years

Women’s Work: The First 20,000 years by Elizabeth Wayland Barber

How to make Raffia Hats Bags and Baskets

How to make Raffia Hats Bags and Baskets, by Liz Doyle

Wheat Weaving and Straw Craft

The Book of Wheat Weaving and Straw Craft: From Simple Plaits to Exquisite Designs

The Basket Book

The Basket Book: Over 30 Magnificent Baskets to Make and Enjoy by Lyn Siler

Techniques of basketry

The Techniques of basketry by Virginia I. Harvey

Earth Basketry

Earth Basketry by Osma G. Tod


Macrame by Alyson Smith Gonsalves

Pine Needle Basketry

Pine Needle Basketry by Judy Mofield Mallow

1st Showcase of Urban Experiments

Helen and split ivy basket with detail below…. It is hard to express just how exciting it has been in the studio lately- Todd and I have been blown away  quiet regularily at our evening circles with what folks are doing! So many people have been inspired with the introduction of materials and techniques and some really interesting things are happening, take a look at recent projects….

Mescanthus braid with flag iris and blackberry bound coil.

Marilyn’s ivy basket with imbellishments including beachcombed cedar trim

Joy’s  willow pruning coil basket bound with Himalyan blackberry

Martin’s “Aubergine inspired” split ivy basket

Elizabeth’s basket: willow clipping spokes, split ivy and jute twine weave

Emily’s Ivy basket dyed with Cochineal

Mary’s tray:  coil basketry technique with ivy, willow

This” Ivy Dollie” was made by Brian who participated recently- using the traditional technique of the English Corn or Wheat Dollie- I must watch him closely next time!

Julia’s first weaving ever! an ivy ball

Ian – after 3 visits on Thursday evenings appears to be totally mastering the art of the macroweave…. split ivy again. ( we are all very impressed)

Debra led a few Saturdays in de-mystifying Salish weaving and spinning, above is a close up of the twinning in wool with two colours- I had hopes we would take this info and translate it into working with invasives in basketry, and before I could blink  Joy who has been a regular participant beat me to it!

This work in progress is ivy, and the coloured ivy is dyed with flag iris root- one of our other “invasives of interest” I love how this relates to what Debra showed us!

One of the things that keeps coming up in the Urban Weaver studio is the idea of “tabby, twill, twine” – the 3 basic techniques that are used by everyone, regardless of where they are from, or what material they are working in. Textiles unite us all.

papyrus foundation and blackberry vine bindingblackberry binding and flag iris foundation coil work as scarf pin or hair stick- we have “product”!

next step: making a cordage “chain” of blackberry with a woven stick cap on the end….stay tuned for that, meanwhile- making roving with blackberry

rolling wet blackberry skin across my leg to create a twist,and wrapping the twisted vine over fingers to hold twist in place.

I knotted several long lengths together as I worked to create a  long, single line of twist.

when I had about twice what I wanted length-wise, I took my end line and my start line from the centre, and began to twist these together in the opposite direction- this becomesr oving (two-ply twist) very strong, and good for a warp!

note- I am working on the opposite leg now, so the twist is going the other direction- the two-ply is being wrapped around my fingers, the single ply bundle that I am pulling from both ends hangs beside me on the ground. rough texture works best for friction to get a twist happening- jeans are too smooth- try thermal underwear!

Karen has been experimenting in spinning blackberry too.

With a drop spindle: Using  long chainlinks to  join wet blackberry strips are bound together and become a two or three ply in the spinnning process.

Coiling works in progress:

scale check!

basket by Joy Witzsche woven with Lamium; a garden ornamental that grows too vigorously everywhere… Joy pulled this from her back alley where it begins to encroach on  the garden

ivy ribs with flag iris twined weave

blackberry skin binding dyed with begonia stems, flag iris foundation green and pink is the natural iris colour

garden dye samples with small cedar basket, red cedar trim dyed with geranium: basket by Todd Devries

red begonia dyed English ivy as trim in cedar bracelet

Blackberry vine inserted in a cedar basket as a decorative element

finished basket by Todd Devries

Work in Progress: Ivy twinned on a cedar warp for ivy slippers… by Sharon Kallis

Urban Weaver Project Facebook Group created

We have been getting such a great response to our Thursday evening weaving classes, that participant weavers have asked for a way to keep informed of future events and dates etc, and so we’ve decided to create a facebook group for the Urban Weaver Project.

The Urban Weaver Project

Not too many pictures will be posted on the Facebook group page, and more will show up on this website and flickr.

Check the events page for future weaving dates and harvest times here and on Facebook.

The Urban Weaver Project

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce a new environmental art project in MacLean Park Fieldhouse presented in partnership with the Stanley Park Ecology Society, The Urban Weaver supports artists from diverse traditions working with ecologists exploring the creative repurposing of green waste. 

Listen to CBC Podcast North by Northwest with Amanda and her visit to the Urban Weaver project. CBC North by Northwest Podcast

The Urban Weaver:

Todd Devries  (Haida), Sharon Kallis (Welsh) and Debra Sparrow (Musqueam) are local artist-weavers collaborating with the Stanley Park Ecology Society and the Vancouver Park Board in an exploration of how invasive plants in the city can be used as urban substitutes for traditional weaving materials. English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, and yellow flag iris hold great potential as contemporary alternatives,  replacing materials such as cedar bark and cattails that cannot be sustainably harvested in urban centres. The artists will be working out of the MacLean Park Fieldhouse, near the Strathcona Community Centre, and there will be open studio times and free community workshops scheduled for next spring and summer. Community members can also get involved in harvesting and preparation of the invasive materials for personal creative use. This exciting project is just getting started so please stop by MacLean Park and meet the artists.

This project aligns with Park Board’s Strategic Priorities regarding ‘Greening’, ‘Engaging People’ and ‘Resource Management’ and responds to recent motions in support of the creative management and repurposing of both green waste and surplus spaces.