Shaping is something that takes time to understand and then to learn exactly how to do it. Many people do not plan their basket shape at all, rather allow the basket to dictate the shape. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I believe letting the materials have their own "voice" in a work is just fine. I do it all the time. If you are a basketmaker who is content with letting the basket take the lead, please do not apologize. But if you are a basketmaker who is ready to tell the basket what to do, this series is for you.
Making a "different shaped basket" does not take long to teach; BUT teaching a student how to make the shape THEY WANT usually does. It takes lots of practice for most basketmakers to envision a basket shape and then execute it. So please don't be discouraged if this method takes you time to master. You will probably need to make more than one basket before one comes out the way you planned.
In coiled baskets, needle angle is the key.
I have heard teachers (and seen books) say to place your coil where you want it, and then stitch it in place. This is essentially correct, but the assumption is that you know where to stitch. No matter how carefully you place that coil, no matter how hard you pull your binder, if you do not place your needle in the right place, your coil will not stay where you have placed it. The needle must enter and exit the coil at the proper point to support the active coil. This is where needle angle comes into play.
The next post will further describe the needle angle concept.
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