Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

May this be a holiday season you'll always remember........
for the joy it brings
for the memories it leaves!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reed Christmas Stocking

Home holiday decorations often include

Christmas stockings.  I make mine with

woven reed. 

Using flat reed, the stocking is started by weaving the beginning of an elbow basket.  One side is rounded off to form the toe.  The opposite side is woven to the desired length to form the top of the stocking.  Colored reed can be used for accent and formed into a bow.  You can fill the stockings with greenery as well.

With Christmas right around the corner, the stockings are ready to be hung. 

    Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Carroll County Artists Studio Tour

I will be taking part in the Carroll County Artists Studio Tour this weekend.  You are invited to visit the studio stops on the tour and to meet the artists and watch many of them demonstrate their craft. Directions to each of the tour stops are found on the Carroll County Artists Studio Tour website                                                   My baskets will be on display and sale at Studio Tour Stop 12 - Cat Tracks Studio.   I will be demonstrating basketweaving throughout the day.  I look forward to seeing you this weekend.                                                

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Festival of Wreaths


 I created a reed wreath for the Carroll County Arts Council 15th Annual Festival of Wreaths.  The wreath will be on display from Saturday, November 24 until Saturday, December 1st.  More than 200 decorated wreaths have been donated for the silent auction to support the arts council. Bids are taken on the wreaths until the close of the show on December 1st.

          To begin the wreath, I wove flat reed over-under round reed spokes circling a styrofoam circle base.  The wreath resembles the woven sides of an egg or hen basket.  To finish the wreath I made a reed ornament with additions of pinecones and cinnamon sticks (see my last post). I also wrapped a piece of wet flat reed around a rod until it dried into a curly strip to add to the wreath.  Brown ribbon bows were the final touch.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Reed Ornaments


 The  desire to decorate around the house increases with
the approaching holidays. Baskets are perfect for filling with a variety of ornaments, small gifts and greenery.

  I also like to use basket supplies to make reed ornaments.  Reed ornaments can be used in a variety of ways.  They can be added to wreaths, gift packages and hung as tree decorations.

Reed ornaments are a great way to use leftover short reed scraps left over from other basket projects.  They can be made using different colored reeds and different widths of reed. 

Individual reed loops can be joined together to form star-like ornaments.  Ribbons, pinecones, and greenery add the finishing touches.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hanging Basket with Pegs

Baskets find many uses around the home. Hanging baskets can be used as a "catch-all" to hold a variety of items or to hold a bouquet of dried flowers.  Baskets woven around a towel bar handle with wooden pegs have many possible uses.  Towels, keys, scarfs and more can hang from the pegs.

The splint basket is shaped to match the width of the handle and peg bar.  The splints can be various sizes to create a thick and thin pattern as the sides are raised to a desired height.  Natural reed can be woven and later stained to a darker tone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swirling Star Basket

Basketmakers have endless possiblities when designing a basket.  Basket shapes,  reed colors and weaving patterns can be mixed and matched to create unique baskets reflecting personal preferences and  creative ideas.

This week I started a basket  base by weaving four different colors in a star pattern.  Once the base was appoximately four inches square I started to pull up the sides. I wove the basket in a cat-head style shape. To produce a swirling effect around the basket I wove the sides with an over two and under three twill pattern . 

The basket was finished with a inner and outter rim lashed with cane.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pine Needle Baskets

Basket makers have traditionally made baskets using whatever material they had available.
In areas with many pine trees,  pine needles can be gathered and used to form coil baskets.

Like other basketry materials, the pine needles need to be soaked to become pliable before bending them into a circle to form the base of the basket.   Raffia, cane, and linen thread can be used to join one row of pine needles to the next.  

I chose to use thin cane to stitch the rings of the coil together. A pattern develops as the basket rings increase the size of the base.  Once the base is the desired size, the coils are places on top of the previous row to create the sides of the basket.

. Once the basket is the desired height and shape, the coils are gradually reduced to end the basket. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shaker Woven Stool

Using a  basic over/under basket weave  I made a Shaker woven seat for a small foot stool yesterday. This was the first time I had woven a seat with Shaker tape. It was a quick and easy first attempt.

I started by tightly wrapping a wooden stool with blue Shaker tape, sandwiching a layer of dense foam between the top and bottom layer of tape.

A second color tape was then woven following an over/under pattern across the top and bottom of the stool until the entire seat was woven. 

Now that I have mastered the basics of Shaker seat weaving, I'm ready to try a more complex weaving pattern on the seat of my next project.  It was a fun break from weaving reed baskets.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hearth Basket

In the past it wasn't uncommon to use a basket to hold kindling for a fireplace.  The tapered sides and low ends of an adapted market basket design was perfect for this use on a hearth.

Today these baskets more often are used to hold magazines or other household items.  A hearth basket can be a functional and decorative touch to any room.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bean Pot Basket

The Bean Pot Basket’s shape was used by early American basket makers.  These baskets were often woven using rye straw which was readily accessible.   I have used flat reed and flat oval reed to recreate this design. 

Like the gathering basket I made last week this basket also uses two colors for the splints and has a double bottom. The red spokes are visible on the inside of the basket and the cream spokes are seen on the outside bottom. This basket’s sides flare out and then taper back to form the desired shape and size.  Two metal loops were added to opposite spokes before the rim was attached by lashing.  The loops allow the metal handle to be attached to the basket and swing freely.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Double Bottom Gathering Basket

This double bottom round gathering basket  was  another basket  I made during my time at Common Ground 2012 in Joyce Schaum’s  Splint Woven Basket class.

The basket begins with eight natural colored splints woven in a circular web pattern.   This becomes the visible bottom base of the basket.    Once the base is about nine inches in diameter eight colored splints are added on top of the natural colored web.  They are woven into the base, alternating with the natural splints.  These colored splints make up the visible inside base of the basket.

The sides are gradually raised up to form a round container.   This basket is eight inches high and fourteen inches in diameter.   I added two side handles.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Picnic Basket

This past week I enrolled in a Splint Woven Basket class as part of Traditions Week 1 of  Common  Ground on the Hill  held at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD.  Each afternoon I joined other basketmakers as we each wove a splint picnic basket under the direction of Joyce Schaum, a nationally known, award winning Maryland basketmaker. It is so much fun to make baskets in the company of others, sharing laughs, tips and techniques.

The functional basket began with weaving a filled 12” x 18” base with natural colored splints.  The splints were then raised up to form the sides of the basket.  I added a decorative pattern using a navy weaver.  Once the sides reached 6 1/2” high, an inner and outer rim was added and lashed to the basket.   The handles were attached to this rim.  Four more inches of weaving tapered in and formed a smaller opening which was rimed and lashed.

A lid is woven separately using both wide splints and narrow weavers.  I added matching navy bands of color to tie it to the picnic basket.  The  13” x 23” lid can also be used as a low serving tray.  
For more information about Common Ground visit their website 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Heart basket

A heart basket starts as a flat reed woven pattern mocking a heart shape.  As the sides are turned up the curved humps of the heart are formed with each row added.

Any color reed can be used to weave a heart basket, but I often use red reed for the base.  Red  helps to emphasize the heart shape and creates an alternating pattern with the natural reed used for the side weavers.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Door Knob Basket

A door knob basket is a simple, flat splint basket to make.   It is designed to hang over a knob or hook.  It can be filled with any number of items... kitchen tools, dried flowers, hand towels.  The list goes on and on.

The simple basket shape can be acented with colored reed bands.  Sometimes I add a woodent heart with jute string to give a country touch to the basket.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reed Covered Vases

Basket makers often weave baskets around a mold to form unique shapes.  Usually the mold is removed prior to the finishing of the basket.  The exception to this is when you weave around a glass bottle or vase.  Throughout history you can find examples of woven sleeves covering glass bottles.  Below are two photos of antique reed covered wine and rum bottles I took while visiting a San Juan distillery on vacation.

I like to weave around glass vases to create reed covered flower holders.  I begin weaving a circular starburst pattern with round reed to cover the base of the vase.  I bend the spokes up to weave tightly around the vase, using various colored reed to create a variety of color patterns.   I continue to weave around the vase following the shape of the glass.  When I reach the top of the vase I complete the weaving with a decorative rim finishing.

The finished reed covered vase holds water and makes for a color coordinated flower arrangement.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hubba Hubba Hub Cap

Recently I took a break from weaving baskets to complete an entry for the Carroll County Arts Council’s Hubba Hubba Hub Cap exhibit.  Weaving on a hubcap was a fun change from weaving vessels with reed.  I first wove narrow black tubing, brown ribbon and gold cord around the outer cutout slits of a hubcap.  Using wire and beads, I twisted and wove random freeform sections attached to the hubcap base to complete the sculpture.  

For a second hubcap entry I made a mosaic mandella design of glass pebbles, beads and broken mirrors.  

The artist reception is Thursday, June 14 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Carroll County Arts Council on Main Street in Westminster.  The show runs through August 14.  Hope you can come check out all the entries.