Tell us about your business.I've been making baskets, and teaching basketweaving for almost 27 years. I'm still learning new techniques and styles. I'm hoping to educate as many people as I can about basketry, not only as a craft, but as a way to connect with the environment. I grow, gather, and process natural materials from my garden, the beach, and the forest around me . Assorted leaves, grasses, tree barks, twigs, roots, kelp, and other plants find their ways into my artwork. Knowledge about those materials comes from those people who made baskets before me, and I, in turn pass it on. I have taught basketry techniques to first graders on up to senior citizens. Anyone can learn, if you have time and patience. In the future, I see myself retiring from my part time job to become a full time artist and instructor. I'm currently offfering workshops, mostly in the western states. I would like to expand my teaching opportunities so that I can teach in other areas of the U.S., and other countries.
What makes your business stand out?I have found that my style of basket weaving is enhanced by trying out a variety of crafts, such as weaving, ceramics or jewelry. So I am very open to taking workshops in other media. Through the years, I have combined my workshop experiences, studying books, and other basket weavers portfolios. Northwest Native American basketry and Japanese culture, especially basketry, have also been extremely important influences. Many of my pieces incorporate Japanese esthetics. Since I am a third generation Japanese-American, I try to find ways to integrate my background into my work. ways to integrate the techniques and styles into my fiber art. Living in the Pacific NW, I have access to many natural materials, from grasses and sedges to a variety of tree barks.
What's the best business advice you've received?2 pieces of advise- You need to make your art as visible as possible. Use as much social media as you are comfortable with. If you sell at shows, make your booth attractive and magnetic. Make people want to stay and look at your products, and chat with you, making a personal connection.
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