Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summertime Creative Ideas

Yay! Our next exchange is underway!

If you have always wanted to participate, but just can't figure out how to address the theme, here are some ideas!

The most challenging way to make a summer basket is to make a figure. Also called an effigy, it involved making a three dimensional sculpture, using coiling. This requires thought and planning.

The easiest figural piece has a coiled body and added in appendages, like the little pine needle turle I made, above left. (Some people will make them rattles, by enclosing little pebbles in the space between the shells. Don't use dried beans or other food items, as that attracts mice who will ruin your coiling to get the food inside!) But here are some more elaborate figures!

At right is a cute little mobile made by Carol Miller. Carol made a little flower and a bird, complete with wings, legs, and beak! What a fabulous idea...and even people who have no room for a "sitting" basket have room to hang something from the ceiling! Great job, Carol!

The turtle effigy at left was made by Nella Johnson. She made a lidded box and added legs and head that were also coiled. This is one of my very treasured possessions from a previous exchange. Not only because Nella did such a great job on it, but because Nella is gone now.

Karyl Jo Hartsog took the "prize" in our last exchange. (This exchange does not have a voted "prize," because many people said last time they did not need one to have fun in the exchange.) It is easy to see why! Karyl Jo expanded upon the "added appendage" technique and made a little beachy vacationer, complete with sunhat and glasses! Marvelous! The thing that impresses me most is that she got him to STAND, it is very difficult to balance these things. Tip: make sure to put wire in the protruding parts, and thoroughly incorporate the coil of the appendage into the core of the basket. (You can click on any of these photos to get a better look at them.)

The MASTER of the effigy is TV McArthur. TV made this most fabulous fish in one of our earliest exchanges. What an amazing piece! I don't know what else to say about it. He inspired us all and showed us how to do it. TV is famous for saying he coiled whatever way was required for the piece to work...none of this "I only coil to the left from the back" business.

Well, now that you have been amazed and perhaps intimidated, we will move on to the less elaborate forms that invoke our theme of "Summertime!" The most popular method of incorporating a theme is usually using a motif, like a picture, or an embellishment/ tie-on.

This project was made by two members of the Pine Needle Group, Dolores Gatz and Lynn Van Couvering. It was a Progressive Exchange, and Dolores painted this tray and started the coiling on it. Lynn finished the coiling, adding the elaborate braided edge. Flowers in the garden are a great summer motif, don't you think????

Say you decided to use a turtle for your basket. I have already shared two other versions of turtles, but there are simpler ways to incorporate your chosen design. The turtle is always a favorite of basketmakers. Turtles are featured in many Native American cultures in their traditions and myths, and this wall plaque made by Jeanie Pfantz is a a great example of that. They are a big part of my summer, I am constantly rescuing them from the road! Another way to use a motif like the turtle is to woodburn the design onto a gourd, the way Rhoda Forbes did in this piece. Remember the coiling has to consist of half the project! that is why Rhoda coiled this piece so high. There are also pottery starts with animal designs on them, like this one used by Pamela Caskey. It has a dimensional turtle on it. Pam did a beautiful job of expanding the design into the stitching of the basket, did you notice? She has coiled a turtle on whose back the little ceramic turtle rests! So very cool. Great job, Pam!

Shells are very easy to use in a basket, they often come with ready-made holes in them, and can be picked up or purchased. If you need to drill one, please drill it under a little water! Here are two lovely examples of shell baskets, which of course invoke images of the beach and vacations. The first, asymmetrical one, was part of that Progressive Exchange, and it was begun by Toni Best and finished by Kendra Davis. The second example is a lidded basket just chok-full of seashells by Susan Butts. What a beautiful place to keep a treasure!

So you have the idea about motifs and embellishments. The last way I can think of to feature our theme of "Summertime" is to make a basket that is traditionally used during the summer or for a summer activity. The first thing I thought of was picnics and gardens.

Here is a lovely garden style gathering basket, by Carol Miller. The gathering basket is typified by a high, arching handle with two upturned sides. The other sides, where the handle is not attached, are low. This allows for cut flowers to be laid in the basket as they are being gathered. Carol made an exquisite example of this form for our very first exchange in 2000.

A napkin basket is always welcome, for picnics and on the patio. Here is a lovely example that also bears a flower motif, coiled by Janet Bonnell. Napkins are generally SQUARE. See my series on shaped baskets for a discussion of this. They are NOT easy to make. Nice job, Janet!

Covered dishes are great for picnics or for having food outside, alfresco on the patio. A great place to store rolls, tortillas, cupcakes, cookies, etc, for the crowd. (please line with a napkin) This one was woven by Jessica Pitts. I really like the large ring on the top of the lid, this makes it easy to pick up the lid and easy to put it back on. What a useful traditional basket for summer!

Bonnie Martin made her pincushion exchange basket summery with a butterfly motif. But it is a traditionally functional basket. This would count as a summer interpretation of a traditional form.

Another great idea for a traditional form comes from KJ Hartsog. This is a picture frame made of pine needles and raffia...don't we take alot of pictures in the summertime? I think it would qualify even without the great little mini bird nest she added to it. The little eggs are white beans. So clever!

I don't know if this little bee skep qualifies as an effigy, traditional or a motif basket...bee skeps were traditionally coiled of rye straw and oak splint and put out for bees to nest in the summertime, of course. This tiny one I made is only decorative, but undeniably makes me think of the warm season...with the tiny bee embellishment, that is.

Here is another basket that undoubtedly fits, though i am not sure what category it falls into...more than one? Vicky Nickelson made this one for the broken object exchange. It has pieces of a broken plate and an eagle nest motif. Very cool idea. I suppose it could be a chip/dip as well, with adequate lining

Got your creative juices flowing? So many ideas!

In case you are wondering, most of the baskets shown as examples here are from previous exchanges, made by people in the Pine Needle Group, and previous permission was given to use these photos. I hope you have enjoyed them, I certainly have!

Let's see what great "Summertime" baskets you can come up with!!! Have you signed up yet???


Friday, July 23, 2010


"Summertime Exchange"
Exchange Host: Pamela Zimmerman

Guidelines and Schedule

This is an opportunity for each of us coil a basket that embodies the theme "Summertime." Your basket may be one that is intended for use during the summer (i.e. traditional use) or have a motif about summer (flowers, frogs, fireworks, bare feet, grass, beach, pool, etc,) or a sculptural basket that has something to do with summer.

1. All members of the Pine Needle Group who have fulfilled their past commitments to our exchanges, and members who have never participated are eligible to participate.

2. Baskets should address the theme "Summertime," in either a pictoral, figural, or traditional use manner.

3. All entries must be at least 50% coiled. At least half the surface area of the basket HAS TO BE coiling. Any material (Including, but not limited to pine needles) for the coiling. Other techniques are also permitted in addition to coiling.

4.Coiling is defined as a weaving technique using an inner core that is wrapped with a binder. Glued or ceramic coils are not permitted.

5. Baskets may be started on a "start," of NOT LARGER than a 6 inches in any one direction. (Your base, if you use one, MUST BE SMALLER than 6 inches.) For ideas of what to use as a start, see Pamela's blog on this topic.

6. You must be a member of the Pine Needle Yahoo Group in good standing to participate in this exchange.

7. To participate, send your name, email address (please type it out, don't assume it is gotten from the email,) address, and PHONE NUMBER (mandatory) to Pamela Zimmerman, exchange Host. All entries will be acknowledged. The phone number is essential. Your phone number will not be distributed or shared, even to your exchange partner.

8. Sign up period is from Friday, July 23, through Friday July 30. You will receive the name of your partner July 31.

9. Partner assignments will be double blind - that is, you will not know who is sending you a basket, and the person you are sending to will not necessarily be the one who is sending to you.

10. You have from whenever you sign up, until August 31 to coil and ship your basket.

11. Please coil a basket that you would be proud to receive. Please remember that we have all levels of coiling experience on this list, and that coilers of equal experience may not be paired.

12. Once you have completed your basket, please take several CLEAR pictures of it, and email the pictures to Pamela. If you do not have a digital camera, please have the image digitized at your local store, it does not cost much.

13. Send the completed basket to your partner.

14. Photos of all exchange baskets will be posted to this blog, as well as the Pine Needle Group list, along with the maker's name and who received it (and any other information about the basket they want to share.)

15. When you receive your basket, you MUST post to the group list an acknowledgement and thank you.

16. The Standing Rules apply. Please make sure that you READ the standing rules. They are at the bottom of the Exchanges page.


SIGN-UP: today through Monday, July 30
COILING BEGINS: Immediately after signing up
QUESTIONS??? - E-MAIL ME: Pamela Zimmerman

If you are interested in coordinating a future exchange, your rules, email

Lynn Hoyt, Exchanges Coordinator

Tomorrow I will post some examples of baskets that I think exemplify the theme, Summertime!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Announcing Our Favorite Basket in the Asymmetrical Exchange!

Announcing our favorite basket in the Asymmetrical Exchange.....Karyl Jo Hartsog's lovely teneriffe filled creation! For more views of Karyl Jo's great basket, please revisit the blog entry where it was first posted.

Congratulations, KJ! I will be sending out KJ's prize, from my shop, shown here. KJ will be receiving an asymmetrical (of course) basket base with fern design on it, a bolt of hunter green artificial sinew, a Needle Grabber duo, as well as a set of art postcards of my woven artwork.

What a wonderful array of beautiful baskets we had in this exchange! Everyone's basket was definitely a "keeper." To see all the baskets in one place, sign into the Pine Needle Group Yahoo Group and go to the Asymmetrical Exchange Photo Folder. To all participants in this exchange, thank you for participating, for fulfilling your obligation and making a lovely asymmetrical basket. I am sorry I could not afford to provide everyone with a prize like KJ's. But as a consolation prize, if you participated in the exchange, and make a purchase from any of my shops at, please note in "message to seller" that you were in the Asymmetrical Exchange, and I will give you 20% ONE PURCHASE (all items in a single purchase) as a thank you for participating. My shops are MakeABasket , PurpleToedGypsy, and Bazketmakr. You can find quick links (and photos of items listed in these shops) in the right margin of this blog ---------------------------->

Can't wait til we have another great exchange ... anyone up for it again?????