Black ash basket class Saturday

Courtesy Photo Here is an example of the black ash market basket participants in Saturday’s seminar will make and take home.

MILLERSBURG — Crafters of all experience levels are welcome to join Kris and Ron Sorgenfrei to make their own black ash market basket from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

This may be one of your last chances to get your hands on local black ash, which has become scarce because of the invasive emerald ash borer.

The Sorgenfreis live about three miles outside of Millersburg. Kris Sorgenfrei said the black ash materials came from Ron and Lynn Kovell, who had lived at Rainy Lake but are now in a care home in Rogers City. She said this event is made possible because of Ron Kovell’s collection of black ash and his allowing them to use the materials. Collecting materials for the baskets is painstaking work, she said.

“You have to debark the log, and peel off the growth rings when the log is still damp,” she said, adding that you have to keep the log wet until you are ready to use the materials.

“It’s very labor intensive to do all this,” Sorgenfrei said. “It’s quite a job, but it’s very satisfying when you get one done.”

She explained that Saturday’s project is a fairly simple market basket that even beginners will be able to complete at the seminar.

Ocqueoc Outdoor Center has been trying to focus on more native crafts to bring to the community, Sorgenfrei said.

In 1988, Sorgenfrei worked with Edith Bondie, a local Native American woman known for her basket-weaving talents. Bondie’s work can be seen at Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan in Alpena.

The event, sponsored by Friends of the Ocqueoc Outdoor Center, will be held at Ocqueoc Outdoor Center, 7142 Ocqueoc Lake Road. The $100 class fee includes all materials, tools and instruction.

Advance registration is required. To register, call or text Mary Ann at 989-351-9700.


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