May 17-21 / 2023
Tamarack Lake MN (near Sandstone, MN)
With Anni Zylstra & Zac Fittipaldi
Basket Camp 2023!
Join basketmakers and folk learning enthusiasts Zac Fittipaldi & Anni Zylstra for four fun and memorable days learning the magical art of willow basketmaking on the shores of Tamarack Lake in the north woods of so-called Minnesota.
Basket Camp is an opportunity to spend 4 relaxing days and nights in the woods among the owls and wolves learning, weaving, paddling the lake, rejuvenating and making new friends around the fireside, all while getting an intensive hands-on education in the ancient art of stake and strand willow basketry.
Whether you're looking for a chance to begin or deepen your journey with willow, basket camp provides a space to spend some real time developing this skill in a beautifully wild, supportive, and fun setting with skillful instruction. Anni and Zac have designed this learning and retreat experience to be both rigorous and restorative, flexible and full, down home and well held.
Students will spend their days establishing a foundation in beginner-level willow skills, though there will be opportunities for those with foundational skills to work at a more intermediate level if they display skill with beginner work. Students will learn traditional round-base stake and strand style willow work from northern and western Europe, and focus on designing and making one to two round-base baskets. Anni and Zac teach with the goal that when students leave camp, they have the skills, knowledge, and resources to continue this craft long into the future.
Students will be working with pre-cured and soaked willow prepared especially for the class. Harvesting our own materials is not an option for this class, as Basket Camp falls outside the harvest window for willow. However, students are encouraged to spend time in the willow garden on site and seek out information about growing your own material in order to continue your weaving journeys at home.
Basic Camp Registration: $500
This is the basic registration cost for the weekend, including all pre-harvested and prepared basketry materials, 3.5 days of weaving instruction, 4 nights of basic tent camping on the lakeshore of Tamarack Lake, and access to canoes and other equipment for lake activities. The basic registration is for students bringing their own camp set ups and all meals.
Add $80 to you registration to include a simple hot breakfast and dinner each full day of camp. Breakfast will include either home harvested wild ricemeal or oatmeal with toppings and boiled eggs. Dinner will include simple soups, chiles, wild rice, and fixings. We will be serving up a lot of home grown and wild harvested foods. If you need comfort food to supplement our healthy base meals, please bring it, along with all the foods you will need for 4 days of lunch and snacks. Our meals will be gluten and dairy free with dairy options on the side.
Canvas Tent Camp: $150
If you'd like a pre-assembled camp in a canvas tent with the option of provided camp bedding for your long weekend, choose the option that includes a camp set up in the registration form. The tents can comfortably sleep 1-2 people if you're coming to camp with a buddy and want to split the camp option.
Payment plans for tuition are available and can be completed in three installments by April 1st. Refunds for tuition are available until May 1st.
Arrival / Opening Potluck:
Wednesday the 17th, 5 PM
8 AM Breakfast
9:30 - 12:30 Class
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 5:30 Class
5:30 + Dinner / Evening Activities
Closing Circle / Camp Cleanup:
Sunday 1 PM
The schedule is designed to include 24 full comprehensive hours of basketry instruction, and is meant to be both spacious and rigorous. The breaks in the schedule allow space for the physical and mental recovery necessary for learning and taking part in the physically taxing work of weaving willow. We encourage campers to rest, snack, and partake in self care activities as needed, and also to take time to enjoy the abundant hiking trails on the adjoining state land or paddle the lake as a way to have a more diverse camp experience and reduce pain and injury from basketmaking.
Some examples of evening activities on the schedule for this year!
Thursday night: All-camp Bonfire
Friday night: Variety show!
Saturday night: Group paddle-sing on the lake!
Campers should plan to bring any food, dishware, and cookware you'll need for the duration of the weekend. Those opting into the breakfast and dinner option should bring the foods you need for 4 days of lunch, plus snacks and comfort food, and the dishware you you need for eating and preparing foods. A cookfire and dishwashing station will be available, and campers are welcome to team up with camp neighbors or friends for cooking and meal sharing.
Anni will be making daily herbal infusions to keep everyone nourished and warm in camp.
Basket Camp is takes place at Zac Fittipaldi's land project on beautiful Tamarack Lake in northern Minnesota, near Sandstone Minnesota. The property is mostly wooded, and campers should be prepared to camp in any of northern Minnesota's unpredictable mid-May weather scenarios.
The land is fairly primitive but includes is drinking water, an outhouse, a primitive wood fired bathtub, flat ground for camping, a dock with lake access, group cook fires, a cabin with a woodstove for warming up in if need be, a barn for cooking and working in case rain shelter is needed, and outdoor kitchen / cooking spaces. See photos of the site here!
Zac & Anni are queer/trans-affirming instructors who intentionally strive to make a space that is welcoming to all who wish to learn these crafts. We invite all campers to join us in an agreement to be kind and respectful to one another, to the indigenous land we gather upon, to the plants we work with, to practice consent with one another, and generally cultivate an attitude reverence as we enjoy a weekend of weaving and playing.
While we want this event to be accessible and welcoming to all, weaving the baskets, preparing the materials, and being on the land at our rustic site all require a degree of able-bodiedness that is sadly exclusive to some. Working with willow requires a surprising degree of physical strength, and while our site is mostly flat, campers will need to be able to walk on uneven ground and be outside for multiple days in a row. We hope that the support additions of a provided camp food and tent set up option increases accessibility to some who can be there with slightly more support. Those who are able to attend should plan to take good care of their bodies and bring whatever supports - physical, herbal, medical, etc. - you need to keep yourself healthy and feeling good while partaking in prolonged strenuous activity.
Zac Fittipaldi (he/him) is a basketmaker and earth skills enthusiast who lives on the edge of beautiful Tamarack Lake on the border of WI and MN - ancestral home of the Anishinaabe and Ojibwe. He has been weaving and teaching basketry techniques of many kinds for 13 years, with a special focus in Willow and Black Ash. When not weaving and teaching, you can find Zac hunting, trapping, & gathering wild foods in the north woods, making buckskin clothes, or gathering together to make things with friends.
Anni Zylstra (she/they) is a weaver, musician, and folk-curious queer living and farming on occupied Ho-chunk and Oceti Sakowin lands also known as Driftless Wisconsin. Anni fell in love with the willows 6 years ago and hasn't stopped weaving since. When not weaving, they can be found in the garden, making bioregional / homegrown plant medicines, learning polyphonic folk songs to sing, teaching music classes, or swaddling Artie the cat.
Words from Past Campers
"Anni and Zac make a spectacular willow instructing team. They cultivate a safe and inviting environment where all participants can flourish and come together in the hilarity that ensues when weaving baskets with a group of oddballs captivated by craft. I’ve learned so much about willow weaving from them and continue to feel moved by their authenticity and generosity in spirit. Thanks Anni and Zac for being so wonderful! You compliment each other tremendously. I couldn’t have asked for better willow whisperers."
"Taking time to learn a new skill with new people is always a gamble. In retrospect, the odds were perfect with this camp, where I learned much, laughed more, and have two beautiful baskets that I will be using enthusiastically for decades to come."
"Basket camp is full of healing laughter, learning, and friendship! Zac and Anni are patient, kind teachers and camp helpers are beloved for making camp well stocked and preparing amazing food, tea and coffee. They are fun humans to be around too! As someone with disabilities, the add-on accommodations allowed me to be able to participate in a deep and meaningful way."
"As someone new to basketry, basket camp was the perfect deep dive into willow basketry that took me from being a total beginner to having three baskets under my belt and confident in being able to create new baskets independently! This camp environment was a space for lots of joy, community building, and a safe learning space for a diversity of people and learning styles."
"Basket camp was so good for the soul. I left with a deep appreciation for the craft, three beautiful baskets, a bunch of new friends, and most importantly, a lot more love for this crazy world and the people in it. I can't wait for next year."
"I actually squealed out loud with absolute joy and delight more than a few times!! Thank you Zac and Anni for being the best basket camp counselors ever!!!"
"For 4 years, I worked as a "self taught" basket weaver, learning only through books and youtube and trial & error. My progress was painstakingly slow, and after 4 years I was able to kind of sort of create a mostly functional basket that looked ok. Then I went to basket camp! In 2 days, I was able to crank out a very big, very beautiful, very strong basket that I now use hard on a regular basis and over a year later it's holding up great. I cannot stress enough how valuable it has been learning from experienced teachers and working with properly prepared materials!!! I have been totally blown away by the amazing quality of work that is possible in short time with the right guidance. Plus, it's really really fun to weave with other people and co-create a giant pile of baskets! I signed up two years in a row, hope to be back for year 3!"
"I came home from basket camp with two pretty sweet baskets and boatload of good memories and ideas. This is totally something you should do if you like to sit around outside, make things with your hands, and get to know interesting and creative people. I want to come back."