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Weaving willow coffins and cradles -bringing beauty and the thresholds of birth and death back into the hearts and hands of the people!
114 backers pledged $10,511 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$10,511

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Woven Thresholds is a collaborative project that applies the ancient craft of willow basketry to the weaving of what we're calling "threshold vessels" — that is, coffins, cradles, and willow baskets. All of the weaving materials are gathered from uncultivated lands or gathered from willow patches with varieties grown for weaving. This project brings communities into an intimate relationship with life, death, and beauty while also creating a collective, small-scale weaving practice that contributes to a solidarity economy where purpose outweighs profit. Following an apprenticeship with established Irish coffin weaver, Woven Thresholds was born from the desire to build a culture of reciprocity with the Earth, crafting humans into a closer relationship with the integral cycles of birth and death. 

Willow Harvest. Willow gathered from lands near Salem, Oregon. Tending these patches witha couple of weaver friends.
Willow Harvest. Willow gathered from lands near Salem, Oregon. Tending these patches witha couple of weaver friends.

 There exists a massive industry producing commodities around such human experiences as birth and death. Corporate greed leaves families with the burden of unaffordable vessels that also poison the earth, or an endless supply of baby-junk that's mass-produced, devoid of story, and reliant upon exploitative labor across the globe. Woven Thresholds is a response to the inert, extractive, and sterile over-culture, re-imagining instead a collaborative, healing pathway for some of our choices around birth and death. 

 Woven Thresholds is collaborative on several levels: working with the land where the willows are grown and harvested for weaving; creating a network of craftspeople and artists, midwives and doulas of both birth and death, home and natural burial advocates, conservation burial alliances, and of course the communities that experience threshold from the inside out. A small seed to plant with with the  long vision for any community is that birth and death are returned to the hearts and hands of the people who experience them  and the more immediate outcome of sharing the ancestral craft of weaving as a vessel for all life.

How will the kickstarter funds support Woven Thresholds?! 

Willow rescued from the creek after a storm - soaking for the weaving of a cradle.
Willow rescued from the creek after a storm - soaking for the weaving of a cradle.

 Funds raised through this kickstarter will support the continuation of a small-scale weaving practice through the weaving of the baskets for backers as well as the weaving of one coffin and one cradle, both of which will be donated ! 

The cradle will be donated to Roots of Labor Birth Collective and the coffin to the White Eagle Memorial Preserve. 

The dream for this project is that these woven vessels, the coffins, cradles, and baskets, become doorways for dialogue and connection around how we as human beings can re-imagine our relationship to birth and death.

 In sitting with how to dance with capitalism and how to offer these vessels to the world, I turned to the crowd-funding platform as a way to call on the abundance that exists in our communities to not only support the continued practice of willow basket weaving, but also illuminate ways that the basket is a tangible vessel of story and connection for communities and individuals and the earth in threshold times. 

Below you will find images of more of the rewards for backers, which include the coffins and cradles. You will also find links to the Conservation Burial communities I have been in contact with and more information on the Roots of Labor Birth Collective, their work, some podcasts, and how you can further support them. 

This is the title of the little book/zine that will be printed in 2019 for backers and the world. A beautiful collection of poetic wanderings and shared knowledge on willow, weaving, tending, living and dying.
This is the title of the little book/zine that will be printed in 2019 for backers and the world. A beautiful collection of poetic wanderings and shared knowledge on willow, weaving, tending, living and dying.
Courage Patch! Hand-drawn, hand-printed patch to move through the world with.
Courage Patch! Hand-drawn, hand-printed patch to move through the world with.
Gathering Basket - backers will have the option to choose a small or larger gathering basket!
Gathering Basket - backers will have the option to choose a small or larger gathering basket!

Another gathering basket - different style!
Another gathering basket - different style!

Small pack basket - one style
Small pack basket - one style
Large Pack Baskets !
Large Pack Baskets !
Large Pack !
Large Pack !
Large Pack Basket, gathering Elder flowers (and another gathering basket gifted to me years ago by a weaver friend Rosemary)
Large Pack Basket, gathering Elder flowers (and another gathering basket gifted to me years ago by a weaver friend Rosemary)
The Strongest Laundry Basket (or log basket, etc etc)
The Strongest Laundry Basket (or log basket, etc etc)
The Strongest Laundry Basket (part II)
The Strongest Laundry Basket (part II)
Another Strongest Laundry Basket style
Another Strongest Laundry Basket style

More gathering baskets...
More gathering baskets...

Willow Cradles and supporting radical birth work ! 

The willow cradles are full of story, creating a vessel full of the story of the stars and storms, woven for a life coming in. How are we shaped by what surrounds us? The smell and texture of the willow, the way a baby's gaze dances across the weave. Being held in the beautiful tension of the basket, sleeping, growing. The cradles are created from the earth, the hands, and into the hearts and homes of the ones weaving this new life into the world.

The cradle funded from this project will be donated to Roots of Labor Birth Collective out of Oakland California. The Roots of Labor Birth Collective consists of birth doulas of color committed to providing support and care for birthing members of their community, decolonizing birth, honoring birth, empowering themselves and each other, and sustaining doula work. You can learn more about the collective and how to further support their work here:  Roots of Labor Birth Collective.  

Also, check out these podcasts to learn more: 

Birth Bruja podcast did a 3 part series on RLBC:


Birthwork for Foks of Color 

 Birthing Behind Bars 

 Decolonizing Birth 

For the Wild podcast: 

 Roots of Labor Collective on Decolonizing Birth 

Willow and Wood Coffins 

Coffin getting woven up in the work space of Brendan Farren, a brilliant human, and amazing teacher. Worked with Brendan last winter to learn to weave coffins with the willow and wood.
Coffin getting woven up in the work space of Brendan Farren, a brilliant human, and amazing teacher. Worked with Brendan last winter to learn to weave coffins with the willow and wood.

The willow coffins are like boats, vessels of story and resilience, protection and beauty. Weaving is an ancient work of the hands, and the weaving of willow coffins a threshold work that I feel was left on the shores of my ancestors. How do these vessels want to live in these times? How can these woven coffins be vessels of healing and stitch us and our communities into relationship with our dying, our death, and the rhythms and cycles of the earth? The willow, grown and gathered from cultivated or wild patches, the wood from coastal driftwood or hand-rived and planed boards from a forest that was suddenly cleared - the transformation of wood into bases and spine for the coffins creating a final resting place for these tree beings. 

"  What can one do in the face of destruction, the face of loss? In the grounds of logging, bodies of trees piled high: not fit for the needs of commerce. To stand next to these staggering piles of the neglected dead, the scope too big for my heart to take in at once…" Cynthia Main
" What can one do in the face of destruction, the face of loss? In the grounds of logging, bodies of trees piled high: not fit for the needs of commerce. To stand next to these staggering piles of the neglected dead, the scope too big for my heart to take in at once…" Cynthia Main
Weaving hands.
Weaving hands.
Woven coffin, yet to receive the roped handles, on the coast of Donegal, Ireland
Woven coffin, yet to receive the roped handles, on the coast of Donegal, Ireland

One coffin will be donated to  White Eagle Memorial Preserve  in Washington. White Eagle Memorial Preserve as well as  Larkspur Conservation  are part of a growing alliance of conservation burial lands around the country. 

" Conservation burial is a growing movement to steward and protect wilderness and other lands threatened by development. By offering natural burials in a way that preserves and even restores ecosystems via land stewardship practices, conservation burial provides revenue and access to nature. Conservation Burial Grounds - there are 9 certified in the US currently - are at least 5 acres, and exist either as land stewardship organizations themselves, or in conjunction with a land trust and conservation easement to steward land restoration efforts, and to maintain a commitment to preserving intact wildnerness ecosystems. Conservation burial sites are dug by hand to a depth of 3-4 feet, where the microbial activity is the soil is active, and biodegradable materials are used for the burial garments. Often families are directly involved in the closing of the grave, and grave mounds are created which will subside naturally over time, as the bodies within recompose into earth. "  Jodie Buller, White Eagle Memorial Preserve, Ekone Ranch

The other person you saw in some of the video with with coffins is Brendan Farren, a teacher of mine, and someone I worked close with this time last year to learn weaving the willow and wood into a coffin. I admire Brendan greatly. You can find more about Brendan, his work, and his amazing online courses and offerings here: 

 www.biggreenart.com  

 Brendan's Video Tutorials for Weaving 

 Information on an amazing weaving resource!  

A bit about Mo: 

Woven Thresholds is the vision of interdisciplinary artist Maureen  Walrath. Maureen is a weaver, farmer, visual artist, and student  midwife. She learned to weave willow baskets in the Coast Range of  Oregon, connecting her craft with the life of plants; learning about the  willows, their growing patterns, harvesting and curing the plant for  weaving and teaching others to weave. Her weaving brought her to her  ancestral lands of Ireland where she studied coffin weaving on the North  Atlantic Coast of the island.

Thank you for all of your support! This has been an amazing experience just putting this project together. With much gratitude and bells ringing from the tips of my wings,

Mo

Risks and challenges

My dream is that Woven Thresholds is received in such a way that there are many baskets to weave in the coming year! Related to this is the potential risk or challenge I see connected to the wellness and capability of my body, especially my wrists and hands. Weaving willow, especially the larger willow, requires a lot of strength. This is where the willow keeps the time, easing into the process and creating a work/rest rhythm is crucial. I will communicate with all you lovely backers throughout the process, inviting you into the process, and sharing that willow weaving rhythm as these vessels are created. All an opportunity for growth and learning.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Little Book: Weave the Water in the Wood

    This little book/zine is filled with poetic wanderings and shared knowledge on willow, weaving, tending, living and dying. A beautiful collection of writing, artwork, interviews, how-to-diagrams, small thoughts, big thoughts of some glorious humans. This little booklet is a simple, yet elegant expression of the big picture of this project. Wonderful addition to the bookshelf, zine collection, and roaming creativity to share with the world.

    What's a zine?

    A hand-made, self-published work put out into the world to share empowering information...

    Includes:
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    29 backers
    $

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Courage Patch and Zine

    A hand-printed patch to walk with you in the world. I call this one a courage patch, something to adorn your back, your bags, your walls. Patches are a beautiful way to share a visual story, gather one for yourself and one for a friend. I imagine these patches walking out in the world, creating a constellation of the woven vision of this project and beyond and a celebration of what we can create with our hands.

    Includes:
    • Courage Patch
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    33 backers
    $

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    How-to-Weave-a-Willow-Basket Video!

    Want to learn to weave a basket?! This reward item includes a full video tutorial on how to weave one of the baskets I have been teaching to folks for years now. Similar to the one featured in the video, a stake and strand, willow basket with a round base. Be prepared for a bit of humor, some beautiful scenery, and an opportunity to work with me remotely - how amazing. You will receive a digital copy of this video tutorial along with the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood and a Courage Patch

    Includes:
    • How to weave video
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Courage Patch
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    13 backers
    $

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 120 or more About US$ 120

    Small Willow Gathering Basket

    Strong, versatile basket for gathering plants, stones, various objects, stories, laughter, storms etc. Made entirely of willow with other chosen adornments.

    All baskets woven up for backers will be custom made and co-created! You will have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself and how you might imagine a basket from me living with you in your day to day. This means you will have the opportunity to choose various shapes, handle styles, adornments, and other features as well in the survey that gets sent out to you once the project is funded.

    You will be sent the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood as well!

    Includes:
    • Basket
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    12 backers
    $

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 160 or more About US$ 160

    Larger Willow Gathering Basket

    Strong, larger, versatile basket for gathering plants, veggies, books, papers, stones, various objects, stories, laughter, storms etc. Made entirely of willow with other chosen adornments.

    All baskets woven up for backers will be custom made and co-created! You will have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself and how you might imagine a basket from me living with you in your day to day. This means you will have the opportunity to choose various shapes, handle styles, adornments, and other features as well in the survey that gets sent out to you once the project is funded.

    You will be sent the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood as well!

    Includes:
    • Basket
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    7 backers
    $

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 220 or more About US$ 220

    Small Pack Basket

    All of these baskets are so strong, made entirely of willow, woven up ready for a journey. A beautiful, woven vessel to carry on your back through the city streets, on your bike, out walking/hiking/traveling. These baskets are durable and amazing companions. I have had my pack basket for 6 years, still going strong.

    All baskets woven up for backers will be custom made and co-created! You will have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself and how you might imagine a basket from me living with you in your day to day. This means you will have the opportunity to choose various shapes, handle styles, adornments, and other features as well in the survey that gets sent out to you once the project is funded.

    You will be sent the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood as well!

    Includes:
    • Basket
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    6 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    The Strongest Laundry Basket

    Big, strong Basket ! These ones are woven up with some titles such as 'laundry basket' or 'log basket' in mind, but really, they are very sturdy, working baskets that can carry larger loads, whatever you wish to be carrying or holding. The larger basket also creates so many possibilities for beautiful patterning in the weave, a great piece to have around your home or traveling about with you.

    All baskets woven up for backers will be custom made and co-created! You will have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself and how you might imagine a basket from me living with you in your day to day. This means you will have the opportunity to choose various shapes, handle styles, adornments, and other features as well in the survey that gets sent out to you once the project is funded.

    You will be sent the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood as well!

    Includes:
    • Basket
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    Large Pack Basket

    A spacious pack. I bring my large pack basket everywhere with me! All of these baskets are so strong, made entirely of willow, woven up ready for a journey. A beautiful, woven vessel to carry on your back through the city streets, on your bike, out walking/hiking/traveling. These baskets are durable and amazing companions. I have had my pack basket for 6 years, still going strong.

    All baskets woven up for backers will be custom made and co-created! You will have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself and how you might imagine a basket from me living with you in your day to day. This means you will have the opportunity to choose various shapes, handle styles, adornments, and other features as well in the survey that gets sent out to you once the project is funded.

    You will be sent the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood as well!

    Includes:
    • Basket
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    3 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    Willow Cradle

    The willow cradles are full of story, stars and storms, woven for a life coming in. How are we shaped by what surrounds us? The cradles carry the smell and texture of the willow, a vessel for a baby's gaze to dance across the weave and being held in the beautiful weave of the basket, sleeping, growing. The cradles are created from the earth, the hands, and into the hearts and homes weaving this new life into the world. I imagine these cradles as doorways into a healing relationship with birth and the earth.

    All baskets woven up for backers will be custom made and co-created! You will have the opportunity to share a bit more about yourself and how you might imagine a basket from me living with you in your day to day. This means you will have the opportunity to choose various shapes, handle styles, adornments, and other features as well in the survey that gets sent out to you once the project is funded.

    This reward includes the Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood and Courage Patch!

    Includes:
    • Cradle
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Courage Patch
    • Survey! : Your basket - willow, bells, wood, cloth, handles, etc
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,200 or more About US$ 2,200

    Willow and Wood Coffin

    The willow and wood coffins are made available to backers the same way they are available to the world outside of this kickstarter. I see these coffins as doorways for bringing death back into the hands of the people. They are woven up as a deep wish for us as humans to come into relationship with death, empower ourselves with the information we need in our lives to die well. There are so many different ways these coffins can come into people's lives and I look forward to talking with individuals and communities who are interested in working together. I see these coffins as possibilities for co-creation - weaving stories into the vessel for a specific person or place.

    If you do choose a coffin, you will be sent a survey that begins that co-creation process, as well as scheduling a session to come together to talk more about the possibilities of working together.

    There are possibilities for shipping, but will be organized individually based on shipping and/or delivery needs.

    Includes:
    • Zine: Weave the Water in the Wood
    • Courage Patch
    • Willow and Wood Coffin
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)