Dancer got materials for Christmas to make a basket. We thought it would relatively easy and we would soon be holding a perfectly square little berry basket. Ha! That was so not the case and it took us a better part of the afternoon. Actually for our first try it turned out really well as I am assuming this is an art like everything else. I went around the house looking at all the baskets we have and I now have a new appreciation for them. If we made another one, we would know what we were doing and it would I hope be easier.
Here is our basket making adventure.
Dancer started out by soaking the wood for a good hour to make it nice and pliable. It is amazing how flexible it is for wood.
Using ten wide strips of wood Dancer made the bottom of the basket like this. So far so good, this seemed easy. Bend the side up being careful not to have them crack in two. She did that with no breakage. The middle slat is split and the first reed is started in between these two pieces.
Next was to start weaving the thin, long strips in and out of the side she just made. This is were it started to get difficult. The first two rounds were really hard to get them going and keep it square and the slats straight up and down. After the third lap around the basket it got much easier. You can see how hard she had to concentrate with her tongue sticking out. Every few rows the basket needs to be 'footed' where you make the bottom square and flat and the sides are straight.
Once the sides were as tall as they were going to be, the top has to be prepped for the edging. Any piece that is on the outside of the last row weaving has to be folded under and slipped under a row on the inside of the basket. To do this we used a popsicle stick to pry the inside slat out a little bit to get the top on in. Not as easy as it sounds. The the slats are on the inside of the last row are just cut off even with the top of the basket. This seemed a little scary to me after all the work we had just done getting these slats to stand up and the reeds woven in and out of them to go and snip them off with the scissor.
The top edging came next. Wider slats are wrapped around the inside and outsides of the basket. Then a thin strip is wrapped around and around these two pieces and the top of the basket. We had to get out a needle nosed pliers for this. Lastly, all the ends are tucked in and the basket is done! This was definitely a two person job for us beginners.
The finished product! Now all it has to dry. We were pretty impressed with ourselves.