Thanks so much to all who have commented. I am so excited that Vincent and Tony both are itching to make square baskets now. I am sure their endeavors will be wonderful. I hope they will share them with us! (please?) Anyone else planning a cornered basket?
Moving on in the topic of shaping coiled baskets....
Have you seen coiled effigies? They are very cool! We have had a few effigies in our Pine Needle Exchange. Check out Terrance McArthur’s huge pine needle fish (from PN Exchange # 2)
Or Nella Johnson’s turtle effigy in exchange #10
There are lots of other extreme shaped baskets in the Pine Needle
Exchanges. Check them out!
Most effigies, in addition to requiring extreme shaping, also have added elements, legs, heads, etc. These are sometimes added onto an already coiled shape (couched on,) or made by splitting the coil at the point of addition. Splitting the coil, and letting two part diverge, coil into two separate parts of the basket, is easier, in my opinion, than adding a whole separate coil.
Coiling elaborate shapes brings many challenges, not the least of which is support. In order for pine needles to arc around tiny curves, they generally have to be very flexible, which usually means they have to be soaked (or glycerinized?) This sometimes means getting them to bear weight is a real issue.
Just ask Lynn Hoyt about her trials getting this giraffe from The Effigy Exchange to hold his head up and stand on his thin little legs (not to mention the round and round and round coiling in that tiny space for such a long distance!) What a fabulous job she did on her giraffe! You can see she used stitcks to reinforce the extremities (the cute little hooves give it away,) but as i recall, the difficulty was really making the legs attach to the base without wobbling all over the place.
In effigy coiling, It is usually easier to build a complete internal support system or armature around which to coil.
One of my very early pine needle sculptures was a huge mushroom. I wanted to give a little elf a place to sit. The cap of the mushroom simply would not stay on the stem. This was a very early piece, i must say, only a few months after i first started coiling. I was very happy with the shaping, including an indention where my little doll would sit. But the thing was floppy! I tried waxing and all sorts of creative stitching. I finally just put skewers down through it from the top. I think i could do a much better job if i took on the project now, but the FIRST thing i would begin with would be an armature.
Here is an example of the difference (in twined figural sculpture)
sculpture without armature
sculpture with armature
Just to remind you, here is TV McArthur's amazing "fur" pine needle coat again, because i am just enamored with and amazed by it!
Next blogpost we will talk about free shaping, and asymmetrical baskets, what i think is the most fun of all! Please leave your comment for everyone to read.