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.