Friday, March 30, 2012

Step Baskets

A step basket’s function dictates its form.  The basket is designed to nest against 2 steps.  The base of the basket is deep, while the top section is half the depth.  A handle allows for easy carrying.

Many basket lovers keep a step basket at the base of a staircase to serve as a “catchall” for items that need to be taken upstairs.  When the basket is full, it can be easily carried up the stairs to be emptied.

A word of caution…….  Make sure everyone in the house knows that you have placed a step basket on the stairs.  I was commissioned to make a step basket to be given as a gift.  The recipient was thrilled with the basket, but it was returned to me in 3 weeks.  The daughter had stepped on the basket as she tumbled down the stairs.  Fortunately the girl was not hurt, but the basket didn’t fare so well.  The handle was broken into pieces.   I was able to replace the handle and repair the damage so the step basket was ready too be used again. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hanging Woven Vessels

After making rimed gourds, I found I had a growing collection of left over gourd tops. I wanted to find a way to incorporate them into a woven vessel. I experimented with adding reed spokes to the gourd tops to weave round and flat reed to create a free form container.  I added a handle to make the forms a hanging vessel. Each vessel is a unique shape.  Some are thin and others are rounded.  Some vessels have natural colors and sliced walnut accents.  Other vessels are bright, bold and whimsical. They are a lot of fun to make.  I hope you like them too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rimmed Gourds

When my sister’s father-in-law grew a bumper crop of gourds, he needed to find an outlet for them.  I was happy to take some.  I like to weave with different materials and was anxious to try my hand weaving on gourds. 

Sometimes I follow traditional styles of working with gourds.  I cut the tops off, stain the bases, and I rim the top with pine needles. 

Sometimes I add other natural materials such as walnut slices or drift wood.

In addition to rimming the gourds with pine needles, I use round reed to weave a basket-like collar around the top of the gourd. I also like to add  bold color with stains for the gourds and  dyed reed. 

What do you think?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Double walled Baskets

Weaving baskets with small round reed used to evoke memories of flimsy containers with wooden bases woven at Girl Scout camp.   Consequently I seldom used round reed in my baskets.   That is until I had the opportunity to take a Cherokee basket workshop lead by Peggy Brennan at Common Ground held in July at McDaniel College.   Brennan’s knowledge of basketry and enthusiasm for promoting the role of basketry in the Cherokee culture is inspiring.  Under her tutorage I learned the basics for weaving a double wall basket.  

Double wall baskets are extremely sturdy and not at all like my childhood attempts.  The basket base is woven first and the sides are pulled up and shaped as you weave.  At the desired height of the basket the reed is flipped down and a second wall of weaving is woven over the basket shape until it reaches the base.   Once this basic process is learned you can manipulate colors, patterns and shapes to create a basket that is uniquely your own.

I have come to love experimenting with color combinations and different shapes and heights of my double wall baskets.  I hope you enjoy some of results shown.