I knew it! I knew it! I knew if I tabled basket making as part of the agenda at The Gathering, I would finally be able to make a decent basket or at least understand instructions!
The Gathering is a monthly mini meeting between founding members, Cindy, Asuka and me. Since June 2010, we have met once a month. Without Fail. We have 2 Honorary Members, Dale and Rosanna, who attended our 1st and 3rd Gathering respectively.
We try to plan for at least one mini making at each Gathering but deciding what to do can be a bit of a headache as our styles , preferences and methods are different, sometimes even at odds. Cindy, the reluctant captain, is often tasked with the unenviable job of deciding what to make. Coincidentally or not , it is usually something I want to make. Poor Asuka!
If you have read my post on Day 213, you may remember how hopeless I was at trying to follow basket weaving instructions from my book, 4 pages of which are extracted here (see left) for you to decipher. I thought maybe my 2 other friends can translate these codes.
So I emailed Cindy : How about we make baskets at the February Gathering? Finally, something all 3 of us can use despite our different genre. So we met yesterday and I found out I was wrong about 1 thing:
It turned out that none of us were really good at following the written word.
Luckily, Cindy had made frame baskets before, way back in September 2009 and she remembered this wonderful pictorial tutorial at Linnanukkis.
Going back and forth my laptop to look at the pictures in the tutorial, this is what we did:
Materials: We used these plastic line to make the frames. But you can also use wires or even papers. For the baskets, we decided to try different materials. Cindy decided on brown paper from paper ropes, Asuka and I , cotton cooking strings.
Frame: Make the frame and then use tacky glue to hold them in place.
Handle Joints: This is the tricky part that took us a while to unravel. You first make a cross at the part the frame joins the handle. You then start weaving diagonally, one spoke at a time in one direction until you are satisfied.
Skeleton and Body: After you have done the weaving at the handles, build the skeleton body by adding more spokes gluing the edges of each spoke at the part the handle joins the frame. Then start weaving in and out of the new spokes. Use two strings , one at each handle joint and have them meet at the center for an easier finish.
It took us between 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours to finish the baskets up to this stage, just before varnish. Guess who took the longest? Moi, of course. We all decided that paper gave the best results as it looked the most realistic. The smallest basket made by Asuka measures 5/8" at its widest , mine is 1" and Cindy's 1 1/4".
Varnish : We used wood varnishes for the cotton baskets and just a matt acrylic varnish for the paper one. And then,
the baskets are finally ready for some gathering
1st, we have Asuka's baby basket for freshly dug potatoes
Here, you see plucked oranges and figs overflowing from the basket by Sans!
And perched on OM's ladder is Cindy's willow skein frame basket for those mountainous magic herbs.
You may want to know that just one of those potatoes , bought in Bangkok but dirtied and painted by me, can fill OM's stomach for the whole day.
And the baskets of oranges and figs , gifts from Kiva, are so precious to the Rollas that they only eat one of them a month. These fruits DO NOT rot.
Last but not least, those herbs or real dried flowers, when pounded and applied to the face with the mountain mud, will instantly make you look 20 years younger. So don't use it if you are less than 20 years old !