Welcome to the website of Ankaret Dean
~ fibre artist specializing in willow sculpture and basketry ~ weaving and basketry instructor ~ craft writer

Teaching in Bangladesh

I was born in Devonshire, England, and have lived and worked in Ontario, Canada for most of my adult life. I have been involved in basketry and weaving for the past forty years.

L: Floor rug, wool and recycled blanket strips, 2014. R: rug warp on the loom, 2014.

From 1972-1975, as a mature student, I attended Sheridan College, School of Crafts and Design and received Diploma in Textile Design.

                                            At the loom                                    Ikat technique, handwoven dressing gown, cotton                
                                                                                              Made for the Wearable Art Show, Gairloch Gardens, Oakville

Wastepaper basket: coiled scrap paper, 3' high

My interest in basketry and weaving led me to develop a network of Canadian basketmakers and start The Basketry Express, a quarterly magazine that I edited from 1985 to 2000. I also wrote a craft column for the Toronto Star for many years.

Willow and seagrass cordage basket

Free Spirit, 1982
Over the years I travelled to England, Sweden and Japan to learn more about basketry and lead tour groups. I also visited India, Bangladesh and the USA to teach and explore various basketry techniques and methods.
My travels led to lifelong friends and I'm forever grateful for all that I have been able to do in the world of basketry.

Round reed and willow twigs
Below left: some of my Romany sheep at High Valley Farm. Below right: the living willow labyrinth at MERA.

After moving to a farm in eastern Ontario in 1994, I co-founded the McDonald's Corners-Elphin Recreation Arts (MERA) group and remain active in the local fibre arts community.

Fun and frivolous: food sculptures

Due to the ephemeral nature of natural fibres, this website has been created to document some of work, my collection of baskets and exhibitions in which I have participated.

A Basket of Nations, Invitational Exhibition at Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, 1995

Please explore the site, enjoy the images and download both the collection catalogue and the exhibition photobook!

Babies and puppies enjoy baskets too!
"New ideas keep coming to her, including a willow crib she helped make for her granddaughter and a basket in which her dog could sleep. (The child out-grew hers; the dog ate his.)" An excerpt from The art of basketry a "basic craft of mankind", in The Oakville Beaver, by Howard Mozel, Friday Aug 31 1984.