If you are looking for a project that will keep your hands busy and create something beautiful and functional to show for your efforts, Lighthouse for Learning instructor Jan Schmidt teaches the craft of basket weaving.

“A lot of people think this is too challenging, but actually this is pretty simple art,” Schmidt said. “No experience is necessary, these are beginner baskets, I supply all the tools and reed – they just need to bring themselves.”

Schmidt was born in Wisconsin and said she comes from a very creative family. She learned the art of basket weaving from her mother. She only teaches her own original patterns and her mother’s patterns.

“All of the baskets are made out of rattan reed and I do all of the dying myself for the color,” she said saying she uses only natural materials and the baskets contain no nails, staples or glue. “Everybody signs their baskets to make them their own and they make great gifts.”

This is her fourth year teaching with Lighthouse for Learning and every semester she comes up with new baskets to teach. Students complete the baskets in class so they have a finished product to take home.

“You don’t have to be an artist – just come out and have fun,” Schmidt said. “New students are thrilled to see the end result and are in disbelief they made such a beautiful object.”

Schmidt currently teaches at conventions all over the country, which allows her to introduce new patterns and meet other weavers. She sells the baskets she creates in the Dallas area and has a website displaying her work at www.basketsbyjan.net.

Schmidt has two upcoming classes through Lighthouse for Learning for individuals 16 and older. Classes meet at Waxahachie High School.

•Ruth’s Market Basket – Named for her mother, the 9.5x10-inch basket is woven off a square wood handle. The base is a solid woven base using only round reed.

Students will learn all the weaves in this heavy-duty basket. Shaping is the main challenge in this project, which would also make a nice Easter basket. The class meets Thursdays, March 24 and 31 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. The cost of the class is $24 plus a $30 supply fee to be paid to the instructor.

•Turkey Tracks Wastebasket - This 12x14-inch basket goes from square to round with a woven solid bottom. Students will learn basic weaving techniques and decorative side design. The class meets Mondays, April 18 and 25 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The cost is $24 plus a $30 supply fee to be paid to the instructor.

Classes are limited to 12 students.

Waxahachie Lighthouse for Learning is a cooperative effort between WISD, the Texas A&M Extension Agency, Master Gardeners and other individuals, organizations and businesses in the community. Spring semester course catalogs are available at businesses throughout the community, at the Waxahachie Daily Light, local libraries, chambers of commerce and are being distributed to WISD elementary students to take home.

Online registration with credit card payment is available at http://WISD.revtrak.net. To pay with cash or check, students can register in person or by mail at 411 N. Gibson St. Registration is accepted from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For individuals who can’t fit on-site classes into their busy schedules, the learning online program offers an extensive selection of courses. Visit www.ed2go.com/lighthouse to register for online classes. Click on the orientation link and follow the instructions to enroll and pay for the course.

For additional information contact Melissa Cobb at mcobb@wisd.org or call 972-923-4631 extension 142.

Contact Rebecca at rhertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.