April Stone Dahl
About the Artist
April Stone Dahl
P.O. Box 218 Odanah, WI 54861
I was introduced to the world of woven Black Ash baskets in 1998 by my husband, Jarrod, who had just woven his first Black Ash basket. After watching his basket change shape and color during one full year of being used every day, outside in the elements, I looked at Black Ash in a whole new light. A deeper understanding of the strength and durability of this natural material (that was growing all around me) surfaced and I began to weave the following spring, 1999.
The learning that took place over the next year was nothing but solid weaving. Since I did not know any Ash basket weavers, I relied on books, photographs, and just plain weaving the material myself. I was saw how the wood worked as it was woven, how thickness played a role, what ratios I preferred, and how to get the final product I saw in my mind. Couple this with locally harvesting and processing the material by hand – and I had one hell of an experience! This self-taught process led to deep appreciation of the styles of utilitarian baskets – or baskets that should serve a function…baskets that should get used.
In 2006, I met my first fellow weaver of Ash, and since then, have met a few more. I will be forever grateful for the differing styles and reasons why people weave, their historical and/or cultural ties to the material, and what they have taught me about weaving and Black Ash. Through workshops, students build self-esteem and carry home new skills. I also learn from my students. These important connections are made through teaching.
Since 2000, the year that my husband and I created our business, WOODSPIRIT, I have shared my knowledge of weaving this beautiful material with nearly 1,000 individuals in the Northland. Combining the gifts and hand-works of Ojibwe and Scandinavian ancestry leads both me and Jarrod down an interesting path of hand-crafting together as wife and husband. This creates the foundation of our lives together and is truly the bigger picture for how we wish to raise our family in the modern world.
“Aagimaak ‘o makakoon” (Black Ash Baskets)
Combining the gifts and hand-works of Ojibwe and Scandinavian ancestry leads me down an interesting path of hand-crafting. It creates the foundation of my family’s life in the modern world.
“I believe that learning about the natural world
and how our ancestors were able to live in balance
with the earth is vital for humankind today
and so wish to pick up those skills and teachings left
alongside the path long ago…
working with Black Ash is but a small part of it.”
part of it.”