Tuesday, December 8, 2009

17. Three Considerations for Faster, Easier Coiling Post 17

Thanks very much to everyone who has followed this series. I have loved reading your comments! John’s comment on the last post was,

“Given the information on this particular blog, I am tempted to sign up for a coiling workshop the next time my local Guild (The Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners) offers such a course.”

I must say to John : please don’t wait! As an experienced basketmaker, parent of a child with autism, and business owner, I KNOW you are practiced at problem-solving. Coiling is so simple – there are only 2 active elements, the core and the binder. Contrasted with every other form of weaving, except knotless netting, this is the simplest (knotless netting only has one active element.) After having hosted the Pine Needle Group (which I originated in 1998) for eleven years, I believe that MOST coilers come to coiling all on their own. I obviously do not hear from the people who don’t stick with it. But I hear from hundreds every year who do, and find coiling relaxing, expressive, fun and easy. DON’T WAIT for the next class. There are so many instructions on the web, so many books, it is so easy to do this all by yourself. If you sit down today and try, you may find yourself TEACHING the next class for your guild (no fooling.) I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that very story!

Recently, I have begun including free DIY instructions (very basic) with purchase of any item in my MakeABasket etsy shop. These instructions are for using a base, and of course I am trying to sell my pottery bases there. But any base will do, and, as we just talked about base options, and you see you can make one at home with what you have, there is little excuse left. So, for readers of this blog, I will be glad to send you my sheet of free basic instructions, just email me!

Yesterday, saw the local basket legend, I have not seen her for a long time. She has been making baskets for over 30 years. When anyone talks about baskets in this county, her name is mentioned. Until about 5 years ago, I know she had made just about any basket - except a coiled one. In the last few years she began picking up pine needles, and now her booth at the annual Christmas Craft fair includes some pottery or gourd-based coiled vessels. Last night, she told me she had battled breast cancer this summer. I was stunned. Here she was, as usual, with her booth full of beautiful baskets of every style and size imaginable. I told her she certainly appeared to have been productive, given the radical surgery and other treatments she had endured. Almost apologetically, she motioned to the coiled baskets, and said that during her recovery, pine needle baskets were what she chose to work on.

I am inspired that she was able to continue weaving even when she was going through such a trial. It comforts ME that she found solace in coiling. I am proud to be part of a tradition that brings peace and sustenance to the soul…aren’t you? The measuring, cutting, laying out in wide spaces, etc, are just absent from coiled work, once the basics are mastered, it is – pure and simple – joy! Many people with challenges have found ways to use the rhythmic, meditative therapy of coiling, I have heard of blind coilers, and even coilers with only one useable hand! In addition, pine needles are portable, require little elbow room, there is not much debris, and very few necessary tools. Some other coiling mediums, like waxed linen and horsehair, are even smaller and easier to carry. No wonder more and more basketmakers are discovering what they have missed, and coming (back?) to coiling. Some people believe coiling was the FIRST basketmaking technique practiced in this world.

If you have not left a comment yet and would like to, now is your chance. I have just realized that I can sort and count comments using the blog's dashboard...and a thought came to me...i will have another giveaway! I so loved seeing the basket that Susan made with my giveaway base! So i will give away one more base, to a random comment on my "Faster Easier Coiling" series. If you would like to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on any post in that series. I will have "the randomizer" choose from the number of posts and announce it here on this list, as well as in the blog, when the series is over!

I have diverged from my original plan, but the next post will be the last in this series….i hope you will be here to read it! As usual, I welcome your comments.
Pamela

12 comments:

The Flamingess said...

I am one of those who came to coiling on my own. After stumbling across a website showing how to start and then coil pine needles I had to try. I still have my very first basket - a little loose and a bit lopsided but beautiful in my eyes. Using wood or resin set agate bases came later but I still get a thrill out of accomplishing a basket without using a base.

lizbrewer said...

I started coiling with pine needles a few years ago with the short ones found here in Oklahoma and was frustrated with their brittleness. I recently took an evening coiling class and they prepared the Southern Long Leaf needles by soaking them much longer than the person who first showed me how. My what a difference and now I'm hooked. It was amazing to find resources on the Internet that opened up a whole new world. I find myself inspired by others' creations and saw the agates not realizing they were enclosed in resin. I bought some bare slices and tried to drill holes without breaking them so researched some more to find that holes are much easier in resin. Thanks to everyone who shares their knowledge with others. Great ideas are bouncing around the world!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU so much, Pat, for all your work! I am just know "catching up" with reading all the posts and have enjoyed them immensely. I picked up coiling on my own almost 3 years ago, we have an endless supply of decent length needles here in the mountains of MT. I am still overjoyed with the notion of making a beautiful, useful creation from a much-cussed form of "debris" where I live. I injured my dominant hand/wrist in the spring and had to give up just about EVERYthing to let the nerves heal, now I'm full bore and so excited to give substance to all the ideas rolling around in my head. Anyway, just wanted to thank you and wish you a wonderful holiday season! Lisa G in Montana

Weavin' Wicker Woman said...

I've really enjoyed these posts about coiling Pam, and absolutely love your little bee skep! I've been making full-sized ones and teaching classes and have also made small ones, but never THAT small. You've inspired me to do it though, thanks!
Cathryn

Anonymous said...

Susan Averys basket was so imaginative! Would like to make a comment but can't figure out how!

Jean Powell

Anonymous said...

This works for me when I am adding a pine needle coil to a drilled center.
Run the sewing needle from back to front through one hole and tie the thread. Lay the coil of pine needles over the loose end of the thread. Stitch from back to front in same hole. Wrap over and run the sewing needle between the coil and the base edge and wrap over again. Go to next drilled hole. This works with a "V" type stitch also. Just do the wrap over the upright stitch. Make sure you catch every pine needle in the coil back. But it is according to my mood, because I do some with a wrapped coil like Susan.
Kaye Burlason

Donna in WA said...

Pam, I just have to say that I have enjoyed this series. I hope you will have additional series such as this one in the near future.

Anonymous said...

AAACK! I just realized I called you "Pat" instead of Pam - I'm so sorry about that! Must have my head stuck in a basket...

Lisa G in Montana

Midnightcoiler said...

I'll be sorry to see this series end. It's been great, and I've enjoyed the comments too.

Carol said...

I agree with everyone who has enjoyed following this thread!

Jeanne Williams said...

You do great work Pamela. My finger has healed up nicely after my surgery, but dang if I didn`t get another pineneedle prink in the same exact spot. So I`m laying off my baskets for a while until I get back from Argentina. I will not be able to see Flor this time as she will be on vacation too away from BA. She is a sweetie and she sure inspires me also. Happy coiling everyone. your fellow pineneedle basket weaver also in Montana- Ennis, MT

Anonymous said...

I have looked forward to your next in the series so much and enjoy the comments just as much. It fell a little sad to have this one come to a end. It has giving me a lot to think about as I sit coiling each morning. It really doesn't mater to me if I start with a base or not but I just love the thrill I get when I hold a wonderful base that gives me inspiration to build a basket around it. I must thank you again for the inspiration the bases that I have gotten from you has given me. you have helped me to make some of my favorites. I am looking forward to future articles, my friend. Ruth Anne in Zephyerhills