Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mother Culture - Handicrafts and Making Baskets

My daughter is a handicrafts extraordinaire.  At 13, she's won best of show for a sweater she knitted for her sister, made numerous crocheted items, sewn, sculpted, beaded, and started a Etsy shop to sell her popular earrings.  We recently joined the local fibers guild because I wanted to give her opportunities to learn about other creative endeavors and help to connect her with people in the community who are doing wonderful work.  As members of the guild, we can attend monthly meetings where we can learn about all sorts of amazing things and we can attend events and workshops at a discounted rate.  It also gives us a way to find out about events and workshops where we can learn new things.
Weaving the base of the basket
I must admit that I largely joined for my daughter's sake.  I can knit, sew and crochet reasonably well, but I haven't the skill, interest, or dedication that my daughter has.  But I'm always interested in learning, and I want to support my daughter in an area where she is gifted.

The basket with finished sides
When a class came up for a introductory basketmaking class, I was intrigued.  We had never tried anything like that, and my daughter was interested as well.  So I signed both of us up, and we spent a very rainy Saturday and Sunday afternoon in a former church sanctuary learning to weave and shape baskets.
Adding the false rim and trimming the spokes (this one is actually Emma's - hers has a dark blue in it instead of brown)
And you know what?  I loved it.  I love how tactile it is, how little you have to rely on tools to do the work that needs to be done.  I love how as I worked with the pattern, I could start to see the pattern in the basket and anticipate what I would need to do next, no longer needing the pattern so intensely.  And I appreciate making something useful as well as decorative.  I am excited about starting a new basket in a way that I've never been with other handicraft projects.

The rim is on, and I'm almost halfway through the lashing

And now I present, my first basket!

And if I had to find a moral to this little story, I think it would be to keep trying different handicrafts. You might end up finding something you really enjoy doing, and are willing to do for more than the sake of setting a good example for your kids and keeping your hands busy when you're listening to children practicing their reading.


  1. super! well done!
    I hope my daughter is in to handicrafts because I love that sort of things but the boys.....not so much.....

  2. I might be deluding myself, but I try to keep in mind all the building my boys do, both inside with Legos and outside with wood, nails and other materials when I think about handicrafts. They certainly show a lot of creativity and build motor control by doing these things! I do still have them work on more typical handicrafts though too, even if they aren't as enthusiastic about them.

  3. Amber, this is amazing! Please tell me you are going to teach us how to do this at the retreat?! :)

    1. If it wasn't so time consuming I would! But we'd need to spend the whole weekend on it if we were going to actually have a chance of finishing it. We worked from 9-4 on Saturday, 1-4:30 on Sunday, and I put in another hour and a half over a couple evenings to finish the lashing. They are really time consuming, but it is also really enjoyable. I'm hoping to buy materials this week to start another (smaller) basket.