I teach beginner classes at the Carrboro Recreation and Parks department and the Seymour Senior Center; consequently, I end up with a lot of sample and demo baskets.
I’ve found that using Chip Wood Strips from Royalwood Ltd. works well for rims on beginner baskets. It is very malleable and has a nice wood grain. No scarfing needed.
I lashed with paper covered wire, I like the look, but it was difficult to work with.
Next challenges: figure out how to get the basket level at the top, and start thinning the overlap reeds so I don’t get those pesky bumps.
Finished this little one over the weekend. I finally figured out how to count the rows so that I get the number of rows I wanted in the zig or zag.
I mark the “turning row” with a twist tie, and don’t count it. Example, 8 rows to the left, turning row, 8 rows to the right.
Spent Labor Day weekend cleaning and organizing the studio and finishing baskets. I completed two, and worked on a third.
Years ago, I met Shereen LaPlantz at a workshop. She encouraged us to finish or discard all our unfinished work. Said that they take up both physical and emotional space in our lives.
This year, I’m going to make a concerted effort to dig out all those unfinished projects and do something with them.
I usually prefer organic shapes when I do the woven paper images. Yesterday I tried weaving some very geometric images together. I liked the colors and my dear friend is always challenging me to test my boundaries and try new things.
I wasn’t thrilled with the final piece but decided to try it in a frame and see if I liked it better. When I turned it over to insert in the frame, I found a pleasant surprise. I like the back side better than the front!
This is the surprise on the back This is what I wove
I’m working on creating some larger images that I can frame and submit for a one person show. I need about 2 dozen pieces, so I’ve a long way to go.
Here’s the piece I finished yesterday:
I start with either one image, cut in half or two different images, like the ones below. You must be aware of the copyright laws on derivative art, if you are using someone else’s images.
After cutting each image into curved strips I weave them together to create the finished piece.Here’s another I finished this week:
This one uses a slightly different technique. Two photos, the same image, one black and white, the other colored, woven together. The piece is less abstract.The follow two pieces are garden photos. Each has two different photos woven into each other. I like the way you can see the pagoda in this one.Although these were both garden images, with no people or statues, I see a magi in this one.
Years ago, while in New Mexico, I visited a gallery and fell in love with the wonderful woven copper pieces by Suzanne Donazetti. You can see her work here: Waxlander Gallery
Recently, I began weaving paper images and have achieved a look similar to Suzanne’s amazing copper pieces. I’m turning the woven images into cards and selling them at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market.
I’ve also started using larger images and photographs, to do some pieces which I will frame.
This is one colored and one black and white photo, cut and woven together. The image is of the cars at Cadillac Ranch, in Texas.
Josh grew an impressive garlic crop this year, so I made some garlic baskets.
Hope to sell the baskets filled with garlic at the market tomorrow.
Here’s my interpretation of the traditional garlic basket:
Tip: when working with dyed reed, you can use a permanent marker to hide any little imperfection in the dyed reed.
Back in the early 80’s I learned to weave from 3 Japanese books recommended to me by Jim Widess from the Caning Shop, who assured me that I could learn to weave from them, even though they were written in Japanese!
I first saw the 3 x 3 Classic twill basket above in one of these books:
These basket makers each interpreted the the 3 x 3 twill in their own way, resulting in three beautiful baskets.
You can see how color placement in both the stakes and weavers affects the look of the basket.
I’ve finished the bottom of my basket. Getting the cat head feet is the toughest part for me. In general if I have a 1 x 1 weave, it takes 4-6 rows flat on the table to turn the feet, for a 2 x 2 twill it takes 8-10 rows and the 3 x 3 twill takes 12-14 rows to get it nicely fanned out.
And now the sides are woven and waiting for a rim. The zig zag of the twill isn’t as pronounced as it was in my head!
Starting a classic 3/3 twill basket.
Years ago, when looking for an easier way to start a base when teaching beginners, I came up with this technique. I use it instead of the classic 2×2 twill base that most instructions call for.
First I sand the stakes using a green Scotch Brite Green scrubby pad. Fold the pad in half and pull each stake through the fold once or twice in each direction. Voila, most of those pesky hairs are gone.
I taught myself to weave using information and instructions from many different books. In Shereen LaPlantz’s book “Plaiting Folios” she wrote about weaving bases from the center out, stating:
The easiest way to achieve equidistant tension is to start plaiting the base in the center. Plait two elements across two elements in the over one, under one pattern. Continue plaiting the base by adding one element to each of the four sides. Continue this until the base is the desired size. Adjust your tension as you go.
That made a lot of sense to me, and I do all my bases using her center out technique. I mark the center with a piece of wire or waxed linen, to help me keep track of my place. When I’m done, it’s easy to snip out.
Although Shereen passed away years ago, many of her books are still available. Check out Amazon, or your favorite online book store. Some of her books are back in print. and many basket suppliers, like Royalwood and The Caning Shop carry them.
The finished base. Note the single spokes in the center; necessary because I have an odd number of spokes vertically and horizontally. If there were an even number of spokes, I would place a pair of spokes in the center both horizontally and vertically.
Here’s the finished piece.
Hoped to enter it in the State Fair – it doesn’t fit any of the categories – so I’ll just enjoy it.