Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adventures In Basket Weaving

This isn't basket making 101 because I have never had a lesson on how to actually make a basket from scratch... although I shimmied through two survivalist books that breezed over this skill. The books didn't tell me jack toodles, used words I had no idea what they meant (waft?), and didn't have enough pics to really give the mysterious instructions any real meaning. So I started this basket from the skills I learned first when I was 16 sitting under a weeping willow tree with a rad girl named Mara, she looked just like a drag queen and knew how to make wreaths out of branches for dream catchers... and second from Mr. Bort, who makes wreaths of vine that carry sentiments without words and discussed with me various ways that maybe a basket could work.So I started out with basic circles, wrapping the privet (very invasive) vine around itself to create a bottom piece & a handle. Then tied the two together with Honey Suckle vine. I attempted to make some 'spokes' by wrapping thin vines around the bottom circle, keeping the image of a spider web in my mind's eye as a guide.
I used the 'spokes' then to wrap under and over them continuously in a circle...which took FOREVA' and eva' and Evaaaaaaaa.....
I tied the third loop where I wanted the height of the basket to be. Really I wanted it to have alot of depth and be bigger, but my hands were getting cut and my mind was starting to lose itself in all the winding. I kept thinking if I knew what I was doing, it would feel so much smoother... metaphorically and literally. Possibly soaking the vines in water first makes it all alot softer.
I found the wrapping part for the sides of the basket to be a little confusing, but was beginning to get a pattern going by simply wrapping in and out, around the top and bottom breaded wreathes.
I only used two types of invasive vines to makes this basket and I think after hours of working on it, that I can't help but put up this dorky pic below of me with my beloved basket, it's the kinda shit a grandmaw can love!



Mary said...

If you want some Cherokee basket weaving books and stuff I can hook you up. Also, I know the Appalachian and Cherokee basket makers do soak their splints or vines or whatever before weaving.Some do a dying/ soaking in the same step. Let me know if I can help with resources. I loved your basket as is though!

The Oko Box said...

ooooh Mary! Hook a gurl up! I would love to check out any books you have...I want to try out some tried and true techniques to make the process alot easier. Have you made baskets before?
As of now, i think mine are abstract functional art ;)

Susie Collins said...

It's fun to see all the things you are doing at your new home! I'm crazy for baskets, have them all over my house, used for all kinds of things. I made some awhile back just so I understood how they are constructed. Yours is beautiful! Now you have something to collect lots of eggs in. I wove things into the ones I made: strips of fabric, vines, feathers, seed pods, moss. I really loved making them and I still have them all these years later.

The Oko Box said...

Hey Susie! I love the idea of weaving other things into them, i was thinking of that when doing this basket, but since I hardly could figure out how to weave the vines, i figured i betta' wait on getting artistic with it.
I totally used it to collect eggs too! It makes a good little nest. :)

Meg said...

Nice basket, it looks pretty good for me, especially without directions!

To answer your question, weft on my loom is the yarn you weave back and forth across the warp, the yarn that is tied on the loom beams and unrolled and rerolled to give you fresh yarn to weave through. So in relation to basket weaving, I would think weft would be what you weave around your basket "skeleton." Other than that, not sure, but maybe this will help you some!