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Residents flock to CPF-sponsored willow weaving workshop

Traditional basket weaver Bonnie Gale helps two willow weaving workshop participants complete their willow pea-cage trellises on Aug. 25.

Traditional basket weaver Bonnie Gale helps two willow weaving workshop participants complete their willow pea-cage trellises on Aug. 25.

— On Aug. 25 the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation sponsored a make-and-take workshop creating willow pea-cage trellises.

Bonnie Gale, a traditional willow basket maker with national and international resume, gave an in-depth seminar on willow basketry and living willow structures.

Following the seminar, participants gathered in the Willow Patch to begin learning and creating a pea-cage trellis using the willows from the plantation. They were able to take home their creations to enjoy.

The Willow Patch is an important ecologic and historic landscape. It functions as a wetland providing vegetation and animal habitats as well as flood control.

In 2008, the Willow Patch received a much needed environmental revival. The wetland was re-established and native vegetation, including willow, was replaced. Living willow sculpture/art was created, reminding all of the once-historic usage of this area.

This site once served as a mill pond in the early 19th century then it was drained and planted with willows providing material for the Syracuse region’s willow industry.

A well-known weaver, Frank Selinski, used willows from the Willow Patch to make baskets into the mid-1990s making it one of the last functioning willow plantations.

Today, the Willow Patch is owned and maintained by Cazenovia Preservation Foundation. In keeping with current environmental needs and tradition, CPF is encouraging those interested to use the willows for basket making or even create a living sculpture.

If interested in learning more, contact CPF Staff at cazpreservation.org.

Janet Elliot is publicist for the Cazenovia preservation Foundation. She can be reached at janetelliott@twcny.rr.com or through the organization’s website, cazpreservation.org.

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