The summer of 2005 stays in my mind as one of total freedom. I had retired from my Creative Art Therapist position with the VA at the beginning of the year, and I had no obligations, nowhere I had to be.
In the hot evenings with doors and windows wide open, fans running, and the stereo playing my favorite music, I felt like I was on a “High Adventure” making baskets for an upcoming fall show with the Bay Area Basket Makers.
Constructing baskets with natural materials often means working with dried leaves and vines that have been soaked so they are pliable.
I recall standing next to the kitchen sink, where daylily leaves soaked, making a sopping mess on the counter at midnight. These small baskets formed quickly and dried overnight. See a daylily basket on my July 11 blog here.
Working with heavy materials needed more soaking time, took longer to make and needed to be kept damp, or rewetted if they dried out before being completed.
Since money was tight, I used what I had. Some materials I’d picked up from other basket makers who were giving them away. The base on the basket above is something off a palm tree which flattens out when soaked.
I used a heavy cotton cord to stitch a circle of date fruit stalks onto the base. I proceeded to use figure-8 coiling to build up the sides.
When I needed to start a new piece of cord, I left the end of the old cord hanging out after I knotted the new cord to it. After the coiling was finished I added beads and washers to the ends of cord at various places around the circular shape.
When the base dried, it curled up around the center shape very nicely. I can’t plan that – I take what the materials do.
Which is why working with odd materials from nature is a High Adventure.