Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shaping Coiled Baskets: 5

Thanks to everyone who continues to follow this series, and leave comments for us! I especially appreciate the coilers who have shared images of their baskets with me. As previously, these baskets are borrowed from The Pine Needle Group website, where they all have been published with permission.

Did you ever notice all the things that “want” to be rounded? If you have ever made a basket with corners, you will know how challenging it can be to retain them. Woven baskets trend towards round; when plaiting, a “square to round” basket is much easier for a beginner (in my opinion) than a square one…even though the beginning is (hopefully) a perfect square. But a coiled basket especially “wants” to be a perfect round shape, because it is built on a spiral, and each successive coil smooths out any pointed angles. Sharp corners are just “not natural.”

So, knowing that, have you ever tried to make a basket that is NOT round? I have to confess, this is one of the things that suggests to me someone is progressing in their coiling…the readiness to make a basket that is “not just round.” How do you do that? I have seen triangular baskets, square baskets, all sorts of shapes like effigies, and asymmetrical baskets. I have to tell you, I have TRIED to make triangular baskets, square baskets, and asymmetrical baskets, with widely varying succes.

The triangle is difficult…but can be done. The easiest thing to do to make a triangle is to coil in an object (nutslice?) at three equidistant points on the basket. This immediately renders a triangular basket. The trick, thereafter, is to KEEP it triangular. (Triangular basket at right by Judy Mallow)

I remember a BEAUTIFUL triangular basket that Susan Cowell began in one of our early exchanges…by using three round pieces put together (at left.) Ingenious! It made a wonderful little triangle with equal sides. I was very impressed with this idea. This was the Progressive Exchange, where one person started the basket, then sent it to another person (with some materials.)

The second person was supposed to finish the basket THEIR OWN WAY and then send the completed basket on to a third coiler. What a great exchange that was! I learned so much! I wanted to make that a triangular basket…but I learned I could not maintain the corners appropriately. After awhile, I just stopped trying, and added my own “flair” to the basket. And you can see the result on that exchange page.

As I said before, the easiest way to consistently make a triangular basket is to insert something (a nutslice? Beads? Teneriffe form?) on three spots in your basket and don’t coil much afterwards…Judy Mallow shows these in her books, From Forest Floor to Finished Project. That is one of the reasons why John Moore's yellow triangular basket shown here impresses me. He has maintained his corners without such aids, and even coiled sides that still maintain the shape of a triangle! (Where are you, John?)

I would love to hear your thoughts on making triangular baskets, or see your own three sided baskets!

Please leave a comment (click #comments just below this post to go to the comment page.)

The next post, I will talk about coiling the square basket.



Waterrose said...

Always so lovely....I love baskets of all kind, but yours are so intriguing.

Von said...

Great and useful post.