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Weaving like a Basket Case  RSS feed

 
Faye DancingCloud
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Location: Washington, Utah
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I have found myself in the outskirts of the city of Portland for the indefinite future, rather than where I expected to be, which was out in a rural part of eastern Oregon. So I had to improvise on my sustainable arts practices in order to continue working toward my goals of sustainable living.

Since I have chemical allergies, my ability to go out and about is fairly limited and employment opportunities are scarce. I would like to develop something that is a skill and potential source of income.

I decided to start making baskets. Again. The first time, I learned how to twist cordage out of plastic shopping bags and wind the coils in yarn, Hopi-style.

This time, I started with twisting cord from shipping paper and shopping bags, and ended up with a nice little key holder. Then I noticed some birch trees across the street that had dropped a lot of withes. Those have made three other little baskets for me. I gifted the one with a handle to some friends for Christmas. The basket was a hit with their kids: it immediately got tried out as a helmet and a bear crib. I'd say that is a successful present.

For the future I'm thinking of produce baskets for markets, but not sure where to collect materials or what materials to look for, for larger baskets.

I'd be happy to read any suggestions for what plants do well that might be growing in my neighborhood, or what recyclable materials I could try next.

Thanks for reading and looking.
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Little key tray: shipping paper, shopping bags
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Sponge tray: birch withes
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Handle basket: birch withes
 
Nicole Alderman
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I don't have any ideas right now for sustainable materials--weaving is not something I've ever done! But, I wanted to say that your creations look AMAZING! Thank you for sharing them .
 
r ranson
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Oh wow, those are brilliant.

I too have chemical sensitivities and have turned to crafting as a source of comfort and income.  I'm more yarn based, but I hope to learn basketry soon. 

common theads has some instruction on how to gather basket making material from Himalayan blackberries.  I'm keen to try it this summer.  I wonder if other invasive species would make good baskets - it certainly would be a good selling point.
 
Faye DancingCloud
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I don't have any ideas right now for sustainable materials--weaving is not something I've ever done! But, I wanted to say that your creations look AMAZING! Thank you for sharing them .


Thanks, Nicole!

I think the third one has been the tightest weave, so far.



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Faye DancingCloud
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R Ranson wrote:Oh wow, those are brilliant.

I too have chemical sensitivities and have turned to crafting as a source of comfort and income.  I'm more yarn based, but I hope to learn basketry soon. 

common theads has some instruction on how to gather basket making material from Himalayan blackberries.  I'm keen to try it this summer.  I wonder if other invasive species would make good baskets - it certainly would be a good selling point.


Thank you! I know I won't always have time to reply to everything, but I'm basking in the warmth.
Ha. Basking.

Blackberry vine is on my list, now that I've found my knife! I tried weaving with some English ivy, first, after I soaked it, but it still wouldn't bend. Typical for a first attempt. There will be more.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Very cool.  I've been wanting to try basketry but have not gone beyond gathering some Cattail leaves and drying them.  Cattails are usually pretty easy to find in ditches or around ponds.  I think any kind of thick long grasslike plants might work.  Also pine needles.
 
Taryn Hesse
Posts: 58
Location: Rainy Cold Temperate Harz Mountains Germany 450m South Facing River Valley
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Hi
I do basket weaving for a hobby and really anything that won´t fall apart or change shape too much works. Old newspaper and clothing scraps work well when folded enough they are very strong. Some natural materials are yucca leaves (the plants can grow almost anywhere), willow, the inner layer of maple tree bark and reedy water plants that feel leathery when they are fresh. I havent tried black berries because of the thorns but when anything woody is used its best to soak it overnight in hot water and then twist it in your hand, not bending it, before weaving so the fibers are disconnected a bit and can bend better. sometimes cooking\boiling the material in a pot helps if its too old and you have a tall enough pot to put over a fire. A good one is grass but its more of a sewing project than a weaving one is very heavy and it takes ages. Its very strong though and you can make a basket to carry really heavy things. If you damage it than it changes shape instead of pieces breaking off. Willow is the easiest to grow and use but I dry it out over winter or it gets loose after woven.
 
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