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willow basketry anyone?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 109
Location: Council, ID
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Hi. thinking this might be the best category option here in fiber. I just ordered some various basket types from Vermont Willow Nursery, and a book about making them, so just beginning. I have a fair amount of groundwater in parts of my field, so that part is taken care of. I am kind of surprised that there is not more interest and information out there, as they seem to be a really nice option for permaculture plantings and sustainable crafts. Is anyone out there making baskets?
 
pollinator
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Hi J W. I agree. I love the idea of willow baskets replacing all manner of plastic in the garden. Honestly, the idea is so versatile, I could see weaving either an open-topped back basket for foraging or larger-scale harvesting of hardier fruits and veggies, or even a child carrier.

Between willow and other baskets and wooden barrels, we could do away with a lot of plastic.

-CK
 
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Location: Arid, Sunny, 8,000' Buena Vista, Colorado
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Keep us updated with your progress! I'm in CO and haven't found any basket weaving courses and I'm always on the lookout. I think it would be such a productive hobby.
 
pollinator
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Thought I might post this video from one of my favorite youtube channels, this is from a recent Traditional Crafts of Norway series he put out and this one is on basket weaving.

 
J W Richardson
Posts: 109
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I am hopeless with computers, as soon as I go off this page to get a link, I lose what I am writing, but if you google around there is a woman in New York, Bonnie Gale, English Basketry Willows, with books and supplies, and another woman on the west coast with willow starts and baskets, Dunlap I think. The Vermont willow place has the best selection and also has varieties for biomass and living structures.
   Ireland has an area that is still active, Joe Hogan is pretty visible. He uses the Salix pupurea variety 'Packing Twine'.
  This book is really detailed, with advice like "you will need to practice this move a lot before you get it right"....reassuring for me anyway. It is
Willow Basketry by a Swiss couple, Bernard and Regula Verdet-Fierz.
  Decorah, Iowa, seems to be the basketmaking center of the universe here in the States, with an annual conference.
  There is a blog called Contemporary Basketry that has everything that could possibly be construed as basketry. That field sculpture photo is from there.

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Joe
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Joe
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Contemporary Basketry blog
 
J W Richardson
Posts: 109
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Wow, Love that video, Devin! So much detail, and it is interesting to see the minor variations in cultural technique, such as the brake for stripping the bark and also harvesting when leafy. The French and I think the Irish harvest everything while dormant and then leave the ones for peeling in a tub in order for them to break dormancy, then peel.

   The native rhizomatous willow, S.Exigua, was used by the Paiutes, and there is a corollary species on the East coast. I cut some of that and it is really flexible. The Golden willow is all over the West and was planted originally for basketry. I am trying some other willows on the property, coppicing back this year, but not sure what species they are. The Japanese have their own varieties, S. Koriyanagi is one. Lots of species info on the Vermont site.
 
pollinator
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JW

I'm not making basketry but I looked into it over the summer.   I planted quite a few willows last fall with the intention of making baskets and creating some living fence type hardscape.  The cuttings were super small and it turned cold right after planting I hope some of them make it.


Good luck!



 
pollinator
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I went on a basket making cource It was cool I made my own basket . Here in France vannery as its known is quite common and often folks appear at fairs selling stuff some of them are gypsies who go from town to town selling stuff . I have planted some willon too but its going to be a while before It grows big enough to use :-)
Meanwhile I am looking out for tools to collect and use .
I particularly like the idea of fish traps
David
 
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as soon as I go off this page to get a link, I lose what I am writing,



JW, If you're on a computer, big screen and all...try opening a new 'tab' for each place you go...leave your 'reply' alone in it's own 'tab'.   I remember the frustration of losing a reply...discovering tabs was a life saver.  There should be a big plus sign to the right of the tab that you have open (near the top of the screen) click on that to open a new tab. You can also right click on a link and choose 'open in a new tab'.  

...and if you have opened something on top of your reply, try right clicking on the arrow upper left of the screen and that should drop down a list of back pages that should still have your 'reply' available...I use a mouse, so some steps would be different with a touch screen.

Tabs are your friend


I am enjoying this thread, thanks for starting it!
 
J W Richardson
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OMG! I just googled 'french willow basketry' to get some of the town names I have been seeing, and this article came up, posted eight hours ago!
The New York Times is featuring them...https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/t-magazine/design/basket-making-crafting-class.html

I just got cleared today to sell them at the local farmer's market since they are made from homegrown materials, so that could really help that type of income stream, since most crafts are not allowed at farmer's markets.

Thanks for the tips, Judith! I am on an ipad so will experiment.


 
J W Richardson
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This is what I was looking for, also mentioned in that article. There are videos on the site showing workers.

https://www.vannerie.com/
 
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http://www.wintermoontribe.org/beatsbaskets/

Cannon does classes throughout the year in the southwest. Haven't gotten him to come to our farm, where we have acres of willows, but I've heard he's an excellent instructor.
 
Posts: 129
Location: Maritimes , Eastern Canada
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Willow often seems to grow on wet and often unusable land. It is often cut along ditches and when it grows back that lots of the desireable straight shoots.

A person should be able to source lots of willow in their local areas. So much material out there . And as stated by others here, a productive hobby.

I got interested in the willow when I noticed the straight stems growing back after bushwacking. They were just calling out to be used for something !
 
David Livingston
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Willow is so easy to grow , it's bonkers easy . I use a three stage process 1 cut stick 2 stick it in the ground half way 3 have beer . It's that easy

David
 
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I'm doing that in England on my allotment in Gloucestershire , i grow a few basket varieties,  i needed somewhere to make baskets, learn to make baskets, so l made a wooden framed open fronted shelter with a lovely warm rocket mass heater in there for a nice place for me to sit , i filled the shelter sides in with wattle and dawb , I'm very pleased with the rocket mass heater, and the willows i don't use dried out are perfect for the rocket stove , I'm making bird feeders at the moment , i also stand some freshly cut willows in water to peel in may early june , in the summer i put a fence around my patch and put a few chickens in there to do the weeding , they did a good job , I'll do that again in the summer, i have some lovely pussy willows on the daphnoid willow, I have put 4 in a pot and done a braided tree for my daughter , we'll see how that turns out , 
 
J W Richardson
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There is a nice couple of semicoppiced patches along the highway. I figure I can go on coppicing them since the county is anyway. I went around the property and coppiced or cut back any that looked promising. There is some great stuff at the neighbor's, they are in Mexico and I am sorely tempted, haha. A lot of the rods have borers in them, so am wondering about resistant willow varieties. Since there is a ton of coyote willow around here, that would be the only alternative. Hopefully with getting different subspecies initially, there might be some that will be.
  I love the biomass potential as I am using biochar, so can make use of all waste.
   With new trees my usual thing is to grow them on inside the fenced garden for a year, where I can keep tabs on them more easily, then transplant to he permenent site when dormant the next spring. I saw something about willows rooted in water havng a tendency to die when planted out, that sounds like a different deal than just transplanting, do you think?

Barbara, I hope to make hurdles for fencing and wattle and daub infill for some of the interior walls of my fantasy house. Do you have any pictures?
    I have been planting hazel for a few years, and startingnto get a few suckers from them. They are rooting really well from bending and burying a foot or so of a sucker in the fall, and also seedlings.

  Found a partial excerpt basketmaking book on googlebooks that was saying that back in the day most farms made their own baskets, so a really common widespread integrated craft. How we have changed since plastic!
 
Mark Deichmann
Posts: 129
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JW,

You mentioned Hazel. It is also good for basket weaving. I have some old wide shallow garden baskets made of split willow , scandinavian version of the "trug"

but much simpler. They would be typical of the kind of basket you refer to being "homemade" by people just because they needed one. I will post a pic when I get the garage cleaned out, and find them !

I also found Barbara s waddle and daub interesting, sounds like a very special space. I wonder is the daub just clay or is any lime added?



 
Mark Deichmann
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futher to my post above , Intended to write baskets made of "split hazel" , not willow.  The old timers had a sawhorse with a blade mounted on it and would split the end of the hazel rod and then pull it through the blade in front of them
 
Barbara reeves
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My daub mix for wattle and daub is, now I use clay that you dig out of the ground, the clay near me is grey , and I soften it up in a tub of water if too much water it's easy to wait for the clay to settle to the bottom and tip water off, then add Sharpe gritty Sharpe sand, builders sand doesn't work I have been told , I have a lot of coconut fibre off an old mattress , I found that stretched and pulled in to pieces   it gives a nice finish and also , I make some wheat paste , I add the hot wheat paste on the day I'm doing a panel if it's a cold day it's lovely and warm , and i save chunks and lumps of dried out daub and re use it by damping it down and even adding more wheat paste, the wheat paste is 4 cups of water to 1 cup of plain flour and heat it up till thick , I do boil it a bit but it does stick to the pan a bit , so not much boiling hardly any , I did use straw before , it's hard to mix in it hand , putting it on a plastic sheet and stamping about on the whole mix was hard , our geese have straw bedding, I fork it over every day to try to make deep litter , I put some of that in , it was nicely softened up and mixed in easily , I have got a bag of lime because I was going to paint the outside with lime wash , I haven't  done it yet , I think the rain over time washes a bit of the clay off, I will put some photos up tomorrow , it supposed to be sunny tomorrow it's dull and drizzley today
 
Mark Deichmann
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Very interesting description of the daub making. I didn t know about the wheat paste. Good point as well about using sharp sand /grit rather than fine sand.

The lime will toughen the surface. I expect a little of the same clay or clay water could be used to pigment the lime wash if one didn t want the bright white.

I'm a mason by trade so its all sand and cement ; brick stone and block. I specialize in split granite walls mostly with some pavements also in flagstone.

I enjoy learning about the ancient methods that pre-date the invention of mortar , fired clay , quarry holes etc.

Heres the recipe I use for old fashioned lime mortar, great for troweling on and brushing afterwards or not to taste:

               1 part white or grey portland cement( colour choice)
               2 parts hydrated lime
               8 parts fine sand (white)  

THe white portland and white sand are if one desires a pure white mortar/wash .

Use coarser or finer sand depending on appearance desired or use. FOr eks  if a wash is desired , finest possible sand. If a heavy , lumpy surface desired , coarser.

I have no experience using this on clay , but it should work fine. Its known to be a flexible mortar.

We use it on occaision on brick or block, or previously parged/rendered surfaces.




 
Barbara reeves
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I heard the great Wall of China has rice paste in the motor, and the rocket mass heater people said a bit of wheat paste in the cob makes a nice finish so I put it in now
 
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I have a sally garden and this is one thing I did early on: http://www.smallbones.ca/willows-wonderful-willows/ That 'tree' has been outside for a number of years now and it's enormous!

I've made lots of baskets, but not yet from my willow. I actually reduced the size of the garden last year as I needed more places to grow veg. One of these days...
 
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I've  been making willow baskets for 30 years called melon baskets but they really resemble half a football. After all these years I finally made my ultimate garden basket it's 22in.long,15in.wide and 11 inches deep.The nice thing about this design is that you can fill with veggies  wash and the water and dirt drain through.I've sold some over the years but there's not enough return to make it worth my while,I usually give them away .This basket I just finished took 12 hours to complete not counting the time to gather material,I do it to help pass the long winters,-35 with the wind today
 
pollinator
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Interesting subject! At our community garden we have woven willow fences and a 'willow hut'. Once every year (in November) we help coppicing willows somewhere in the region, in exchange for the work we get the willow branches.
Many smaller branches are left unused until now. It would be a nice project to make them into baskets (at least try ... )
Photo: our willow branches in a container for transport.
 
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I have enjoyed this post. I have made baskets, but not out of willow. It has been on my to do wish list.

Here is a site that seems to have a good list of books and tools. I might try getting some of these out through our public library.

Hope this helps. Of course once you see what tools are being used maybe you can make your own.

http://www.englishbasketrywillows.com/index.htm
 
Barbara reeves
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I took a few photos of the shelter I made ,a frame work of wood ,filled in sections with wattle and daub, and put a rocket mass heater in too keep me warm, it works, the upright flue that takes the vapour out is bake bean tins in a flat row taped together , the smoke goes along the bench then it's in a bit of a chamber where it has to regroup itself to go smoothly up the line of bean tins, which it surprisingly does, and the flat chimney gives me more room on the bench, it's only a small shelter, but useful I tried putting photos in I can't see them yet , maybe they are there,  I'll click submit and see
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the shelter
 
Barbara reeves
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A photo of the shelter
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Barbara reeves
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The flue
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Barbara reeves
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Another angle
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Barbara reeves
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The shelter, as we call it
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Barbara reeves
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Wattle and daub,
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Barbara reeves
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I joined 3 bits of barrel together from 3 damaged ones, and i have a layer of stones on top , otherwise the plastic roof would melt,,
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Barbara reeves
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This isn't the best wattle and dawb , i got tired  , one day i might pull it off damp it down rework it and make it a bit finer , i like to add hot wheat paste, for added strenght
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Mark Deichmann
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Charming Barbara !

Great little spot. Nice to see where you left the wattle exposed.

I also noticed the tall basket by your gate. Practical looking design. Looks like willow . Your handiwork?

Your daub has a nice appearance in my opinion , all the straw gives added texture. YOu could put a finish coat for durability , with lime in it  could still be a nice surface but harder.

I also like the clear roof. One of the better products out there those clear sheets. Great for cold frames as well.

Thanks for sharing!
 
Barbara reeves
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Bird feeder, I made from willow , hanging in the hazelnut tree, I didn't use Hazle for my wattle panels in the shelter , I used willow, not as strong but easier for me to work with
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Mark Deichmann
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What a great design/workmanship on that birdfeeder!

I love the colour of the willow. Its so much better when left natural/unpeeled.

Thanks for inspiring !
 
J W Richardson
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Re wheat paste, I saw an article about using earth plaster on painted walls, and she was saying that if you put down a base coat of wheat paste and sand, almost anything will stick.

  Thanks for all the pictures, Barbara, informative to see the unfinished section and how it is connecting to the framwork around. I love the bird feeder!

Hey Brian, do you have any pics of your melon baskets?

Can anyone share their initial experiences working with willow? Some encouraging words? I have a bunch of half started bottoms but when I try to add new rods I
flounder. Is that just gathering experience?  One among many other issues.
What are you using for bodkins, rapping tools, cleaves? Any homemade breakthroughs? So far I have a spike nail for a bodkin, haha.
 
Mark Deichmann
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With all this basket thinking, I went out and cut a few samples to play with.

Willow on my land has got too big and crooked. But did get a few straight young shoots.

Chokecherry , got a nice few stems of it.

Ash, picked a few straight shoots .

I went to work on them, bending and trying to make a circle.( I made one like this years ago.)

I made a nice hoop out of the chokecherry , eyeballed where they overlapped , then sliced each end so they matched up. Put a C-clamp on and stripped some long strips

of bark which I then used to wrap the overlapping join with. I started with a clove hitch and continued winding the bark on tightly and finished each strip with a half hitch.

When I got to where the clamp was I was able to remove it and continue. When it dries it should tighten even more.

I will get better willow from the roadside, where I already spotted it , sounds like JW has a source like this too!  Why not?

Sorry no photo yet as my camera is not focusing, it froze badly.

My plan is to weave a simple shallow garden basket for starters. The hoop is about 12 x16 inches and oval. Bark left on.

I like the shape. The ash sucker actually seemed to make the best circle. The willow seemed to kink more easily .

Next one will be with two hoops intersecting to give deeper basket with half of one hoop forming a solid handle.

THis is how I have seen old timers make baskets , so its from memory. Great fun !

I too hope Brian can post photos of his melon baskets , sound similar what I am attempting.

I hope to get on to the body of the basket tomorrow. Hoop drying now, Hopefully the winding will tighten nicely.

 
Devin Lavign
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Awesome Mark, great to hear this thread inspired you to give it a go. Pics or no, it is great seeing someone take a conversation from a thread and be inspired to give a craft a try to see what can be done with their own hands.

Keep at it, learning the craft and your pics might one day inspire someone else to give it a go as well.
 
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