SPRINGVILLE – About 30 years ago, Ellen McCarthy began spinning and weaving fabric. She continues to do that, belonging to the Allegany Mountain Weavers and the Weavers Guild of Buffalo. But 20 years ago, she made a decision to branch out and began to do basket-weaving classes. On April 1, she did a class in Springville at the Arts Café on Main Street. She has done classes in the past at the building which houses the Springville Center for the Arts.
“Since the Center for the Arts is closed for renovations, classes are now being taught at the Arts Café,” McCarthy said. “When you go in the back door, you can go downstairs. They have created a beautiful workshop with a vinyl floor that can be hosed down after pottery classes. It’s a wonderful place to teach and work.”
After joining the Weavers Guild, McCarthy began teaching classes in Bradford. Her first class there was in 2006. Then another door opened for her to use her skills. “My daughter was in 4-H and they are always looking for projects to do with the kids so I decided to teach them how to make baskets. I did classes at the Extension Building in Little Valley when that was open.”
The class on April 1 was the fourth class McCarthy taught for SCA. She said the class size is usually small, about four people. “I like to have smaller classes because if people are having trouble making their projects I can go around and help them. The largest size group I will work with is 15. Some of my 4-H groups were that size. I’ve even done virtual classes during COVID. It’s harder because I’m not right there to help class participants. I would drive around to drop off the kits. It wasn’t ideal, but it was better than having no class. It was not as personal but at least we got together.”
When McCarthy was asked what she likes best about basket-making, she said she loves “working with the reed. And there is always a feeling of satisfaction when you finish. There is a sense of creativity and completion when you finish any project-a gown, a basket or a quilt.”
If people would like to find out more about the classes that are being offered through the Springville Center for the Arts, they can look online at www.springvillearts.org or call 716-592-9038.
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