Friday, January 25, 2013

TX Basket Weaver's Association Conference 2013

Oy!! I guess I should change the name of my blog to 'Pic of the Month'! Christmas, like always, was a busy time. Throw in my natural laziness and not feeling well lately and you get....NO POSTS! Sorry!! At least I have something to post today!

Last week on Wednesday I headed up to Mesquite, TX with my friend Sherryl to attend the 2nd Annual TX Basket Weaver's Assn. conference. (TBWA) Yes I took the toll road and yes I drove 85 mph. The traffic was light, the weather was perfect, and Sherryl was great company. Yea!!! The meeting did not actually start until Thursday but I didn't want to arrive exhausted from a 5 hour trip, check in and unload in time for the first class at 1 PM. Instead we had a very leisurely Thursday morning and got to visit a bit with others who also arrived early.

My Thursday class was titled 'Tidal Wave' taught by Debbie Hurd. This was my first time to meet Debbie and I was pleased to find her a GREAT teacher! She was knowledgeable, friendly, patient and low key.

Debbie Hurd, teacher extraordinaire!

There was a choice of color so naturally I chose rust. Here is what we started with to make our Tidal Wave basket. Yep, that big plastic bowl is to mold our shape. It could be woven without the mold but shaping is a LOT easier with the mold.

Basket mold  

First off I took all 50 (!) of those stakes and spaced them around the 6" base. There is a groove around the base just for this purpose. Sometimes the reed is too thick and you just smash it with pliers and it goes right in. If it's too thin you can just fold it over a bit. After all the stakes were placed I started twining with small round reed, three times around. Two lengths of reed are used and twisted around each stake. This locks the stakes into place and helps with even spacing....IF you do it well, of course. There's always that!

Stakes in place, beginning twining

As you can see it's a little unwieldy at first. There's no good place to hold on to the basket and you have to be careful to not break any of the stakes as they are the basis of the whole basket. After the twining was complete I started weaving with small flat/oval (FO) reed. It's flat on one side and rounded on the other. The rounded edge gives a nice smooth appearance. At the same time I started pulling in to give the bowl its shape.

Weaving has begun

The flat oval was followed by more twining and then the 'waves' came along....

Waves appear 

Next is the trickiest part...twining around the bowl leaving some open space between the waves. Everyone helped out by checking baskets across the way to see if the height was even all the way around. Then the base got untied to make way for the twining and then bending the spokes to make the rim. Gulp!

Tidal Wave

My bowl could stand to be a little more even but I'm happy with it. I learned some twining methods that were new to me and enjoyed working with everyone around me. It's a challenge sometimes because all the classes are in one huge room and there are people hammering, using hair dryers, talking, moving about, etc. It requires some concentration to stay focused and not get distracted!

Sherryl happened to be in this class too!

Here's a view of Sherryl's basket in progress. As you can see she chose a completely different color. It was really pretty too.

Sherry's Tidal Wave

Here's a peek over Stewart's shoulder to see most of the room. I met Stewart 2 years ago at the San Antonio Folk Life Festival. He's a well seasoned weaver and does great work.

Stewart making his Thursday basket  

One last view of my Tidal Wave basket designed and taught by Debbie Hurd.

Completed Tidal Wave

Now to find a place for my new baby! 8^)

More baskets to come!