Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weaving Willow Baskets

This past Thursday, I went to that gathering of women in the old credit union building to work on crafty projects. Our plan was to focus on rugs, which we successfully did for about 30 minutes, until one of the women walked in with buckets and buckets of cut willow.
The week before last, we had noticed a beautiful willow woven basket that one of the women had made by hand. We were thrilled to our toes to find someone with the knowledge to make such a basket and she agreed to teach us sometime. This was just perfect, as I have been planning for years to learn how to make baskets and even have a website in my bookmarks that has sat for years, waiting for me to get going on learning! So imagine how excited I was when she brought in all those willows!
The first step was to learn how to take the spite out of the willows. This sounds a little punitive. It kinda is. You basically have to gently bend the willows so that they are more pliable. This sounds easier than it is. The first stick I picked up didn't go so well. Bend, bend, bend, SNAP! My face went red and everyone looked while I nervously giggled. I tried again. Bend, bend, bend, bend, SNAP! Well that stick must be too brittle. So picked up another one. Bend, bend, bend, SNAP! By now the jokes were flying about my ability to make baskets. I felt like Alex on Edwardian Farm when he was making the coracle (right around the 2:45 mark) (ps. Edwardian Farm and Victorian Farm are the best shows ever made and if you haven't already done so, you must watch them! You can find them on youtube. You won't be sorry!).
Anyways, back to the basket. I persevered. And I managed to make it to the next step and crafted the rim successfully. She taught us the next steps and generously gave us loads of willow to take home and work on. So I have been diligently working on my basket and these pictures are how far I've come. I've run out of willows now, so I'll have to go cut down some more. It is so much fun to weave baskets and there is something so thrilling about making such a useful item. Boos also enjoys the basket weaving process.


1 comment:

  1. looking good, try spruce etc, small dia very long surface roots - lay into water for a few days. "creek will do" Then, split roots in half with poket knife. Two colors, natural brown with skin, white when peeled - keep the flat side of root to the inside of basket and alternate colors.
    Have fun, basket may last for the rest of your life.

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