Sarahracha rhymes with "Frère Jacques"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

baskets baskets baskets

I dont know when I first started to weave baskets. I do know as a kid playing in the hills we often would try to make stuff with the grasses and other plants that grew around here. I have always been fascinated with the Miwok indians who lived here and the baskets they made that were tight enough to hold water, some were even used to cook in! I have read bits and pieces about gathering materials and curing them to use in basket weaving. I have learned several basket weaving techniques. Some are like magic, like making the ends of the materials disappear into the weave. Most of the time I make tiny baskets that can be finished in one sitting, some of the larger ones I have never finished. They become trivets or coasters. I was lucky enough to be in a fiber arts class where I got to learn all kinds of different methods of creating with unusual materials. Now after years of trial and error, reading books, watching others I have acquired lots of techniques. Its just the gathering of materials that has held me back. Being scottish (cheep) and suffering from sticker shock at the prices of materials I just knew I could use recycled or free from my garden materials . I have tried several times over the years to collect my own materieals and weave with all kinds of odd things. I use what i can find. I have used paper coils, strips of fabric, coil baskets with large rope and twine, tiny baskets out of day lilly leaves and agapanthus, never taking the time to really prepare the materials and ending up with odd looking baskets. I just finished a nice sized basket I made using plastic grocery bags that I had been saving and some brightly colored plastic bags I had saved from the museum store at the legion of honor and the de young museum in san francisco. I should have counted but I am pretty sure I used about 50 plastic grocery bags for the inside coil of this basket and about 10 of the museum bags, cut into strips to coil around the core of the grocery bags.The end result is a very tightly woven brightly colored dense basket that is 9 inches wide and 3 inches deep. I just love it and hope to sell it. I have it listed on my etsy and although it took me several days to make I am only charging 35 dollars.
About a month ago I was removing morning glory vines from my garden and once again thought there has to be a way for me to make something with these. my daughter wove a basket using the green vines, I made a few simple ones too but as the vines were green as they dried the baskets became loose. they are ok as ornaments, filled with dried flowers. I gathered tons of these vines, stripped the leaves off, coiled them loosely and let them dry outdoors for several weeks. After soaking they become pliable and strong enough to weave the tightest of coil baskets. I really like the way they look.

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