Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Case for Baskets

Back here, here and here I wrote about my exploits with basketry.  Apparently last time I wrote about it, I didn't really enjoy the process.  I must have had an off day.

I don't know when I first noticed baskets.  I've always had them around and enjoyed their functional beauty.  I purchased this Cherokee Double Wall basket at the Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City, OK back in the early 1990s.  It was made by Cherokee weaver Shirley Gewin.  The basket has been stained with black walnuts.    I was fascinated by the weaver that I saw at the festival and used my vacation allowance to bring a basket home.  It is in pristine condition all these years later.

 Here you can see the traditional Cherokee cross pattern.

It seems natural that I would go on to make them myself.  I love making things, figuring out how to put things together, to create dimension, strength and build upon ideas.  I started my learning with a market basket kit (below) and gained the very basics from it.  There is vocabulary, tools and materials to gain familiarity with.  I have made approximately five to six baskets.  Most of these have been market baskets of various improvised designs.  I'm ready to expand my horizons and learn new forms and types.

My first basket ever & my smallest basket
Last weekend I visited the Missouri Basketweavers' Guild convention to look around and get ideas.  Such an inspiring trip!  It was a bit overwhelming and disorienting.  I asked some questions and found a few people willing to show me around a bit.  Next year I plan on taking a class or two.

For the most part I have been solo on my baskets.  I've read a few books and watched a few YouTube tutorials.  I'm joining a few guilds this year to broaden my learning.  There is a lot to learn about a tradition that is so old and that was practiced by so many cultures.  I have a lot to learn and a lot to make.

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