Learning to change shape takes practice on the part of the basketmaker. One must practice. In one of our exchanges on the Pine Needle Group, I practiced following the edge of this rippled salad bowl as a base, I coiled with bleached, processed yucca. (I apologize to those who may have tried to look at this exchange - the Recycled Wooden Implement Exchange - photo page before, the code was wrong and I just corrected it.) As another aside, Donna had told me she could not find the photos for the Mask exchange. I hope i have fixed that now, too.
When I want to change the shape, it is easiest for ME to follow the base angle, and put the needle in perpendicular to the angle of the base. This is why I make pottery bases with changes on their edges.
Learning to shape takes time and usually effort on the To help signal me where to change the shape, I often use the sheath ends of the pine needles. I usually put the sheaths on the side of the basket that I want to shape away from. If I want the basket to flair outwards, I put the sheath ends on the front of the coil. If I want the basket to move upwards, I put the sheath ends on the outside of the coil. This helps me to remember where to place my needle (above the sheath) and aids in keeping consistent needle angle. You might notice the pine needle sheaths on the outside of this basket, EXCEPT where the basket flairs outwards and down. There, the sheath ends are on the inside of the basket. My signal. now you know. (click on the photo at left to see closer)
If the sheath of the pine needle is placed appropriately, it is more difficult to shape the side incorrectly, as the pine needle sheath is in the way. All I have to do is continue to place my needle above the sheath of the pine needle, not to cover it with the coil.
There are other ways to shape baskets differently. We have mentioned inserting shaped items, and using floating coils.
Have you ever tried varying coil size? Building a thicker coil in one area of the basket will allow it to build faster. Though needles can be cut from or added to a coil, I have found it is often less work to insert a rod where I want to increase my coil. A piece of round reed, paper rush, dry vine, or fabric may be inserted into the center of the coil, and completely faced with pine needles (or whatever the core material is.) The length of the rod can be precut, if necessary, or left long until it is no longer needed. The ends are most easily inserted if tapered, and it is better if the terminal end can also be tapered. Cutting abruptly CAN cause a “bump” in the coil that is weak and can cause pine needles to break or stress around the cut end of the rod. I commonly use rods inserted into the coil in my multifiber baskets, like the pink elephant one at left. In soft bundle baskets, such as this, if the end of the rod is cut straight, it is possible for the end to stick through the core in the finished basket.
Back to the triangular basket...this is the best i have ever done. And I "cheated." I made the slightly triangular shape by moving the coil to the opposite side of the basket (front or back) to stress the corner, and coiled inward at some points so as not to change the outside shape of the basket. It was couched in some places....i suppose that is another alternative technique. There are so many. Does anyone else have another one to share with us?
The Mountain Speaks - Ruth Andre
2 days ago