Skep Classes

Ginger gets her cloaming on!

Having bees in my yard has been nothing short of heaven. They do so much to bring a sense of unity and sanctuary to our small in-town yard. My plants have never looked better, and the sound and sight of bees floating amongst the flowers brings a meditative quality to all my doings in the yard. They are my outside meditation and the closest thing I have to a devotional practice. Being with my bees expands my spirit and betters my life in ways that are simply too deep to quantify.

Thank you, beloved guinea pigs!

Keeping bees in skep hives is wonderful way to bee. It is an ancient tradition that has wonderful applications for today. Super-insulated summer and winter, breathable, and easy to manage, skeps are a wonderful home in which bees can thrive. The making of the skep is a many-fold process:

~First, appropriate weaving grasses are gathered and dried.
~Weaving tools including Fids, weaving sleeves, binding reed, scissors, and templates must be assembled.
~Weaving begins
~Completed, skeps must have wooden dowels called spleets pushed through them to stabilize the comb.
~Lastly, the outside of the skep is covered (cloamed) with a mixture of cow dung, ash, and clay to protect the skep from UV damage. Straw and weaving seem to attract everyone.

Our weaving workshops take place over three days. We’ll gather Friday afternoon to get started, then meet and weave for the next two days, learning the coil basketry technique, how to add an entrance and new binding reeds, where to place the bamboo spleets, and tips for keeping the weave smooth and tight. You will not finish your skep during the workshop. I find that a full coil around the basket takes about two hours to complete. But for local attendees, we’ll be meeting later for “weaving bees” where we can get together and continue the weaving, cloaming, and spleeting.

Each session is limited to 10 students. And classes often fill up very quickly.


$300 for the three-day workshop (I’ll supply weaving tools and binding cane, and the tools are yours to keep). You may bring your own dried grass for weaving, or purchase weaving grasses from us. (Order Weaving grasses—2 bundles @ $30 each— from Debbie Cochran at 360-841-7632, and she will have them delivered for the class) or you may cut and dry your own.) Email to reserve a place in the workshop. Pay either with a check to Susan Knilans, or with PayPal at my email address. $50 nonrefundable deposit confirms your registration. Pay the remainder when you come to class.



Charity, all done and ready for her eco-box.

Session 1—October 25-27
Session 2—November 15-17
Session 3—February 14-16

TIMES are the same for all three sessions:

Friday–Noon til ?
Saturday and Sunday—10am to 2pm

PLACE: Colibri Gardens, Washougal Washington.

We are pleased to partner with Colibri organic gardens! For the first time, we have the ability to house our students who come from out of the area. This makes the whole weaving event so intimate and engaging: surrounded by the sounds of animals and nature, we are free to begin our mornings as early as we like and weave until we are tired. There are trails to walk, alpacas and chickens and cats to visit with, bees to enjoy, between weaving sessions!

Please contact the Gardens to arrange overnight accommodations.