June 15, 2013

A total basket case

One rule we live by at Cashmerette towers is: if it sounds a bit mad, and it would make a good joke, just do it!

Therefore, when the ever-amazing Gather Here announced a weekend basketmaking workshop in their new 2nd floor studio, I was right there.

When I found out it was being taught by a kooky Australian who wanted to empower and connect us with ancient feminine skills I was ALL OVER THAT. And of course making jokes. And then getting told off. But I think they liked it *really*.

First up! Cane which has been soaked in water for a while:

Our initial assignment was to do “random weaving”. Of course, there is a bit of a method here – if it were truly random, well, you’d just have a bunch of cane on the floor. You actually make a temporary rim by twisting two bits of cane around each other, and then start making some “U” shapes to form a structure for the bottom of the basket. One that’s done, you randomly weave cane in and out, but making sure that you always “push in the outies and push out the innies”. Simples.

Here I am demonstrating the halfway done basket, by placing it on my head. As you will see, this is a theme.

Once it’s done, then you dip it in neon paint. Cool, eh?! You have to blow through the paint a bit to stop it forming little paint windows between the canes, but it’s not too hard. Luckily the weather in Cambridge was glorious that weekend so I left it to hang overnight outside:

Day 1: DONE.

Day 2: we started by making string. Yep. Artisinal handmade string. I know you’re jealous, folks. I made a jaunty bracelet with mine:

And then on to the second basket of the weekend. This one was using a more traditional technique.  We started by making a cross of thicker canes with a smaller piece of thinner cane. The general method: over and under.

Then, we started pushing the arms of the cross apart to make a spider:

And woo hoo it’s starting to look like a basket!

After a while, I got into a rhythm and was able to gossip and make basketweaving jokes without having to pay much attention to my hands. I wove in a bit of pink neon rope because, y’know, that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

Here is the almost finished thing – just need to finish the rim.

And… ta da! The final thing. If I say so myself, moderately impressive

And yep, this one fits too.
The class made a whole variety of baskets and we had a little exhibition at the end. 

Back at Cashmerette towers, I’m pretty pleased with my pink-tinted baskets which provide a nice neon pop to the decor. However, I suspect sewing is going to continue being the main activity of choice: after all, there’s only so often you can wear your basket hats.

Let me know what you think!