Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Basket in a Day

My Friday class started at 8 AM and lasted until 5 PM with a break for lunch. It's pretty intense trying to finish a basket in the allotted time. If it were just any old basket, no problem, but we were trying to make our basket to particular parameters. Much more difficult! This basket pattern is called Emma after the designer's granddaughter. You have to name it something, so why not after family members? Whatever.

Here is the beginning of the basket:

Base and spokes

Here you see the round base with holes drilled and the reed already cut into proper lengths for the spokes. For flat reed the base would have a groove all the way around but with round reed this is a lot easier. One spoke is placed in each hole and then the twining begins. Here's the base with spokes being inserted one by one:

Spokes in the base

 Twining is done with 2 or more weavers. There is a twist between each spoke which locks the spoke into position. You could glue it but it is not needed. No glue in my basket! Here's the basket with spokes inserted and twining done:

Begin with twining

After a few rows of twining we added another spoke on each side of the original spokes giving us 3 reeds to weave around. The new spokes are just inserted down into the twining. Now there are even MORE pieces getting all tangled up during the weaving process!

After the spokes are locked in the weaving starts for the first section of the basket. Now we are trying to bring the shape of the basket up rather than out. The spokes definitely want to go OUT. It's a battle and the basket maker has to take charge and decide what the shape will be. After the weaving we added another row of twining with much larger round reed. It gives a nice definition to the shape and pattern:

More twining

Now we are ready to shape the basket even more with more weaving. This time we are doing a twill weave for a little variety. Twill weave is done by going over and under more than one spoke. It gives a completely different look than basic over one, under one weaving. Here we did over 2, under 2:

Twill weaving added

As you can see, when the basket shape is pulled in the tangle of all the spokes gets to be a real challenge. It's tough getting that reed to come in smoothly! Here are some of my fellow basket makers working away:

Weavers at work

Finally we added one last bit of twining at the top. After the first row the extra spokes were cut off so the ends could be hidden in the twining. This reduces bulk when finishing the rim. After the twining is done this basket is finished with a woven rim. This is a nice change from the usual cut-and-tuck rim that is done. What do you think? My basket doesn't look too bad but it's clear that the teacher is a master basket weaver. Her basket is much smoother in shape and a lot more symmetrical! I've got a ways to go to get to her level of expertise. That's why she's the pro and I'm paying for the class! 8^)

Candace Katz

Candace was actually a lot happier than she looks here. She just hates having her photo taken. I'm glad she indulged me. Candace partners in basketry with her friend, Debbie Hurd. You can see their patterns and such at http://www.basestoweave.com.

And that is how my Emma basket got made. I'll keep the pattern but I don't know if I'll make it again. It has FIVE different sizes of round reed. Reed is sold in half-pounds or pounds. If I bought all the reed then I'd have lots of leftovers and I might have to make several baskets. It's a slippery slope!