Skep Weaving Classes

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. This year, I’ll be teaching my first three skep-making workshops here in the Northwest. 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 step 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 step is covered (cloamed) with a mixture of cow dung, ash, and clay to protect the step from UV damage.

Our weaving workshops take place over a full weekend. We’ll gather Friday night 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. Chances are, you will not finish your step during the workshop. I find that a full coil around the basket takes about two hours to complete. But 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.


$200 for the three-day workshop
$100 for material fees. (The weaving forms and fids are yours to keep, so you can keep weaving more skeps. I’ll be ordering these for you.)

(Email to reserve a place in the workshop. Pay either with a check for $300 to Susan Knilans, or with PayPal at my email address. Payment confirms your registration. (Order Weaving grasses—4 bundles— from Debbie Cochran at 360-841-7632, or you may cut and dry your own.)


Session 1—October 19-21, 2018

Session 2—November 9-11, 2018

Session 3—February 1-3, 2019

TIMES are the same for all three sessions:

Friday—7pm to 9pm
Saturday and Sunday—10am to 4pm

PLACE: Pixie’s Magical Manor at 227 B Street, Washougal, WA