01 August 2014

"Contemporary crafts" course - day 3

Basketry - a whole new world of possibilities!

Having oo'd and ah'd over the samples, we set to work with willow, starting with a demo of how to put the stakes through the cardboard form (holes about 3cm apart) and tie the ends together, and then how to deal with the weavers for the open shapes (which should have an even number of stakes; closed forms need an odd number).
Each of the weavers makes three journey through the stakes. And at the end, it's important to bend the weaver s-l-o-w-l-y. And then there's the business of pulling it through so it doesn't kink....

Here I am, ready to go, inspired by the "shuttle baskets" [which look like boats to me] in a book called Woven into Memory -
And by lunchtime there had been some progress, though my thumbs were feeling rather tender from all that holding down the willow that was bending s-l-o-w-l-y ... and still managing to split! -
Much activity everywhere as baskets grew and grew -

Another demo, this time on how to find the canes together and tuck the ends securely -
I approximated the closed ends, trimmed the sticky-out bits, and will finish off the rest at home with linen thread or paper string -
... but oh my it's very lumpy, with lots of kinks and quite a lot of splitting. Not to mention some (unintentional) assymetry. It would certainly have been easier to do a nice round shape! Now I'd like to start again, using what I've learned about techniques and especially about the way the material behaves, to make an improved version - but that can wait till my hands recover.

We all had a "thing" - in some cases a finished thing - to take home -

A few hours' struggle like this certainly does make you appreciate the skill of basket makers, traditional and contemporary.

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