Thursday, October 31, 2013

Branching Out

Being surrounded by the 17th century and it's crafts and wares on a daily basis tends to seep into your psyche. As a result I have had a nagging obsession with weaving a basket. So I decided I would try my hand at it and see where it gets me.

Step one was finding material. I first tried Green Briar because it grows like a weed around the museum. This turned out to be a big waste of time. It is kinky (not in a fun way), thorny, and quite brittle when trying to bend it, all very poor qualities when making baskets.

Flash forward a couple days and I was cutting nice Cherry coppice shoots for some wattle in a wall. After trimming off the smaller branches I noticed that they were the perfect size and springiness for basket weaving. I bundled the "scrap" and headed off to the shop after work to do

One cherry faggot!

Copying some of the period baskets that I studied at the museum, I made two sets of three spars for the bottom of the basket. And by studying I mean looking at briefly and observing all the nonessential details and ignoring the actually important construction techniques...I might have to take a better look at some of the baskets in the future.

Six spars makes twelve I think I am just making up basket terms.

Next I starting weaving, over and under over and under over and get the point. This is where better observation would have helped me out...I was pretty much just making things up as I went along.

Here is the bottom coming along nicely.

After about 45 minutes I had an almost finished bottom. I tried to add the spars for the sides, but I didn't have stock that was large enough, and I need to research how I can go about bending the sticks at right angles without snapping the wood (maybe boiling first?).

Some spindly looking side spars.

Off to the coppice grove (aka Alden House garden) to harvest some more stock before continuing this basket, stay tuned for part two shortly.

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