Saturday, September 14, 2013

"B" for basket crafts

Anthropologist disagree whether basket making or pottery developed first. Clay is easier to form into a container than weaving fibers, but ancient fired pottery shards  have been found with the imprint of woven fibers. Which did man create first?  How long ago, in history, was baby Moses hidden from Pharaoh in a water proof basket?   
Since we are all familiar with woven Easter baskets, I'll introduce you to birch bark baskets. While in Alaska my friend and I studied native crafts and tried our hand. We collected birch bark that had naturally peeled from the trees, soaked it in water and trimmed the sheet of bark into a usable size. The bark was rolled into a cylinder and held with clothes pins while a bottom of bark was cut to fit. Using an awl, holes were punched into the sides and base. A twig, caning, or jute was added to stabilize the edge while we stitched the bottom and sides together. Traditionally, caribou sinew or spruce roots are used. We didn't have roots or sinew, so we used raffia.
I painted the eagle and loon.

Here is a real challenge. I found this basket made from woven vines and covered with matted fibers in a thrift store. No one knew its history. The horns appear to be cow or buffalo. The strip of fur is not rabbit. The hair is coarse and short like goat. This basket would not hold water but the weave is tight enough to hold tiny items. It is about 18 inches in diameter and 12 inches in height. Why do you think it was created? What is it's use?

Challenge: Use pine needles, or other long plant material (or a sheet of rolled newspaper) Wrap the material with raffia (or yarn). Coil the wrapped fiber into a snake and stitch the coils together to form a flat mat. to make sides on your basket, place the coils on top of the previous row as you progress.

Write a short story that would include the basket pictured.


Comment from K on Art. She said that the art museum in her town had a free night once a week, so she and friends took advantage. The ladies took notes on painting, etc. and compared their thoughts over coffee. Each had discovered ideas to use in crafts.

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