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???


1 comment:

debrarae said...

I love the baskets. I sure wish I could do the exchange, but it's crunch time for me. So I can't this time.

But I will be 'watching' the summer exchange with great interest!