The Catskill Fly Fishing
Center and Museum

This page was last updated on
February 4, 2005 3:26 PM

Traditional Willow Fishing Creel Class

Come to our first Traditional Willow Fishing Creel Class during the weekend of July 29-31, 2005. This is a unique opportunity to create a classic willow fishing creel – complete with a woven lid and 3-part leather and brass harness. Woven on a mold, the finished basket will measure 10” wide by 7” deep by 9” high. Students have the option to finish the basket as a pocketbook creel purse or to make a hole in the lid for use as a fishing creel. Using buff willow, students will weave a “D”-shaped base which is then attached to a special mold. Scallomed stakes are inserted followed by French randing siding, allowing for back strap holes. The custom-made lid (optional hole for fish!) has a willow side closure, noose, and hinges. And best of all, no previous basket weaving experience is required! Tuition for the Traditional Willow Fishing Creel Class is $375 per person [CFFCM members recieve $25 discount] which includes all materials and use of special tools, sleeping accommodations in the Education Dormitory, lunch daily, and written materials on the basket to be created. If you are interested in this year’s program, reserve your space with a minimum deposit of $75 with the balance due on June 15th. For additional information, contact CFFCM at 845-439-4810 or email

About the instructor Bonnie Gale:

Bonnie Gale has been a professional willow basketmaker for the past twenty years. A Kennedy Scholar with degrees from the University of Manchester and M.I.T., she has trained with professional European willow basketmakers. Bonnie is proprietor of "English Basketry Willows" (a small business selling imported European basketry willows, willow basketry books and tools) and founder of the "American Willow Growers Network," a group promoting the growing and the exploration of the uses of willow.

Bonnie teaches traditional willow basketry across the United States and writes extensively on traditional willow basketry and willow growing. Her articles have appeared in Early American Life magazine and assorted basketry publications.

In 1999, Bonnie was awarded an Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2001, she was rostered with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for the Artists-in-Education program, and in 2002, she was accepted as a Master Basketmaker for their Apprenticeship Program. Most recently, Bonnie was asked by Plimoth Plantation to make the large willow baskets featured on the film set in the PBS WGBH Boston public television series Colonial House, which first aired in May 2004.


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