Traditional English Basketry

That is what I am learning. I’ve been learning for a year. I thought it would be, well, if not easy, then fairly straightforward and, well yes, simple. Turns out it is far from simple, but it is fascinating, demanding and exacting.

I have an excellent teacher in Jane Jennifer who is passionate about her work, exacting in the execution of her craft and constantly pushes me to aspire to produce baskets that are the very best I can do, not justĀ  ‘it’ll do baskets’. I am very grateful for her nagging unfailing encouragement.

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From wikipedia:

‘While basket weaving is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say just how old the craft is, because natural materials like wood, grass, and animal remains decay naturally and constantly. So without proper preservation, much of the history of basket making has been lost and is simply speculated upon.

The oldest known baskets have been carbon dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years old, earlier than any established dates for archeological finds of pottery, and were discovered in Faiyum in upper Egypt.[1] Other baskets have been discovered in the Middle East that are up to 7,000 years old. However, baskets seldom survive, as they are made from perishable materials. The most common evidence of a knowledge of basketry is an imprint of the weave on fragments of clay pots, formed by packing clay on the walls of the basket and firing.

During the Industrial Revolution, baskets were used in factories and for packing and deliveries. Wicker furniture became fashionable in Victorian society.

During the World Wars, thousands of baskets were used for transporting messenger pigeons. There were also observational balloon baskets, baskets for shell cases and airborne pannier baskets used for dropping supplies of ammunition and food to the troops.’

So basketry is inextricably linked to (pre plastic) humans as we needed vessls to carry and contain things. Much as basketry appeals to our sense of artisanal beauty we must not forget they are utilitarian objects that also happen to have instrinsic qualities.

As a sculptor the three dimensionality and the honesty of the materials ‘speaks’ to me.

A very lovely site Basketry and Beyond offers some really useful and free information about basket making. Have a look at the resources pages for some really useful info.

As a member of the Basketmakers Association I share their aim “to promote the knowledge of basketry, chairseating and allied crafts . . . ”

The purpose of this blog, for me, is somewhere to start to record my intentions as I begin my journey into Traditional English Basket making, hoping I don’t make too much of a hash of it all.

 

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