Crafting Bamboo with Charissa
  • Beaverton, Oregon, United States
  • 20 hours over 4 days

Crafting Bamboo with Charissa

Fall in love with nature’s most sustainable plant and learn how to craft objects, sculptures and pieces of art with Charissa – one of the few master artists making high-end bamboo artworks in the US with a studio in the Pacific NorthWest boasting spectacular outdoors.
  • Snacks, Coffee, & Tea


One Guest
USD $1065
Additional guest(s) (max 4)
USD $120

Meet the Artist

Charissa is one of the few bamboo artists in the United States making high-end bamboo artworks. Over the past 23 years she has honed her studio practice and visual aesthetic, learning from people like Ned Jaquith, a horticultural bamboo specialist. Her education in bamboo craft has also benefited from studio visits with such renowned artists in Japan as Jiro Yonezawa, Morigami Jin, Tanabe Chikuunsai the 4th, and Ueno Masao. She has also taught worldwide, including children.

Prior to bamboo, Charissa worked with leaves, maple seeds, or tree trimmings. She liked the idea of taking a living plant and extending its life. She combined paper and hand stitching to create sculpture, borrowing techniques from the contemporary basketry movement. Few years later, she saw a bamboo grove, and found the vertical bamboo culms with the nodes, and the horizontal branches slightly moving in the wind, like a living, breathing tapestry. The rest is history.

Her expertise is to work with the bamboo plant in 4 different ways. The first one is to create bamboo strips, a traditional technique used in Asia that requires several years and self discipline to learn. Another way is to treat it like wood. Techniques include cutting, drilling, sanding, heat bending, laminating and pegging bamboo. The third falls in the soft sculpture realm and includes knotless netting, blanket stitch, sewing, weaving, and paper sculptural techniques. The last set of techniques pertain to the glasswork, fusing and slumping.

Bamboo has a culturally rich history, and has been used for centuries to create utilitarian objects, spiritual objects, medicines, ritual celebrations, and fine art. Charissa loves sharing this knowledge and collaborating with one of nature's most sustainable plants. She says “It is a blessing and I hope to share that blessing with others and further the use and love of bamboo, thereby helping the world become a more sustainable place.” She knows what it feels like to be a beginner and teaches from that starting point.

VAWAA Includes:

  • Hands on introduction to crafting bamboo.
  • Visit a 20 acre bamboo grove with approximately 300 varieties of bamboo, some that are rare. Get a deeper understanding about bamboo as a plant, its varieties and how it grows.
  • Harvest a few different types of bamboo. If weather permits, make a bamboo cup to drink tea while enjoying the Moso grove.
  • Understand various techniques and ways that bamboo can be used in conjunction with thread, glass, and paper.
  • Conceptualize and design a bamboo art or sculpture project based on skill level.
  • Learn various beginner skills to work with bamboo: cutting, drilling, rough splitting, heat bending bamboo strips, branches or poles; pegging, binding, and making holes.
  • Introduction to fine splitting and traditional bamboo strip creation techniques (for advanced levels).
  • Discuss artworks by various bamboo artists.
  • Materials and tools.
  • Glass elements available at Charissa's studio can be incorporated into the artwork for an additional fee. They are priced per piece.
  • Arrangements can be made to ship home your project for an additional fee.

Explore Beaverton, Oregon

Beaverton is 7 miles west of Portland with majestic gardens, tea shops, hot springs and the pacific outdoors, all within driving distance. Charissa’s favorite is the Bamboo Garden Nursery, one of the largest on the west coast with 300 bamboo plants.

You can do overnight or day trips to rustic Carson, Belknap, and Breitenbush Hot Springs. The coast is just an hour drive and a hike through many different mountains isn't far either.

Like its monikers, Portland is pretty unique. It has world-renowned chefs and hundreds of food carts; art in theaters and outside on the street; highest concentration of craft breweries; a huge urban forest; and a bridge reserved for bicyclists. In addition, Portland Japanese Garden, The Chinese Garden, Portland Art Museum, and Bullseye Glass Company are not to be missed.

Additional Details

The best time to visit Beaverton is June-September when the weather is drier outside and easier to work in, especially if you are an avid outdoors person and want to explore the great pacific outdoors. During Labor Day Weekend there is a large outdoors arts and crafts show, with a lot of local artists works to see.

This VAWAA cannot be extended in duration.

There are stairs (5) to get into the bathroom so participants should be able to use stairs. The bamboo farm does have uneven ground but adjustments can be made if needed.

This session can be adapted to kids and elderly people, as long as they can use the five stairs to get to the bathroom. With years of experience teaching children you can be confident that attentive children will learn in this environment. We will take more breaks so kids can wander around the back yard hunting ladybugs or visit the chickens. In this case, Charissa will use one of the four days to prepare all the materials and will not be attended by the kids.
Charissa's Availability 4 days