Woven Art: Baskets by James Carthel

Nestled in the senior living community near Kellogg Creek, Milwuakie (south of Portland) lives the enigmatic basket weaver, James Carthel. A retired school principal and native of Texas, James, now in his 80’s, focuses most of his time on gardening and basket making.

Using everything from Poplar to Cedar, Yucca and Grape and from Kudzu to Walnut, James has become versed in most of the known basket fibers in North America.


No great basket maker, however, is complete without using unappreciated fibers! Below, James’ mini recycled plastic baskets.

Nothing is not of the Earth...
— James Carthel

An avid member of the Columbia Basin Basketry Guild, learning closely from native elders, as well as once a board member of the Texas Basket Weavers Association, James has honed his talents and is recognized in Oregon, around the country and even internationally - when I visited with James he had just been in contact with weavers in St. Petersburg, Russia. Keeping this art alive has been Jame’s commitment to his natural environment.

Winter Homestead Tasks: Mend, gather, sleep and feast...and sleep!


Some years ago during my apprenticeship with the master permaculturalist Zev Friedman (here and here), I was exposed to this rich document named, "The Forest Gardener's Year" - it was a season-by-season task list for any land-based dweller, gardener, farmer or permie. Adapted from his own learnings, Zev collaborated on this document with another bad-ass, Natalie Bogwalker, who has become a priestess leader in the original skills world and natural building community. You can find her work here.  This is from Natalie's organization, Wild Abundance, most recent post:

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 11.14.23 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 11.14.12 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 11.14.35 AM.png

If you're interested in more of these types of updates, you can sign up for their newsletter here.

When you receive a permaculture design from us here at Witch Hazel, we typically include an edited version for our PNW climate - aptly called "The Oregon Forest Gardener's Year". 

For Life,