The art of basket weaving is a tiny offshoot of the hobby of weaving and one that involves effectively the same process but with different materials. Usually created by someone who's referred to as a basket weaver or a basket-maker, the process of basket weaving goes back almost as long as the hobby of weaving does. In fact, the growth and development of this hobby, as well as introduction of technology, has been quite similar to what weaving has seen through its years.
Basket weaving involves materials like dried vegetable fibres or, in some parts of the world, leaves and plant-bark, that provide a strong and sturdy material to hold many things, including food, belongings and more. The hobby industry, however, focuses more on the beauty side of things with the main focus being on the techniques used to make the baskets, the quality of the weaving, the materials used and the look & shape of the final product.
Basket Weaving Materials
There are as many different basket weaving materials in existence as you might want, to be very honest. These materials vary based on country, region and even from village-to-village, with every individual adding something of their own to this art form. While the technique may be the same everywhere, the materials depend on what is available locally and what makes sense, in terms of strength and capability, to be used as a basket-weaving material.
The most common material used is Reed, which is a long plant, very-much like grass, but extremely flammable and usually found in and around water-bodies. These Reeds are used in their dried form, usually, and are available in hobby stores in the form of pre-made coils. All you need to do is use them as rope in your hobby. You get different kinds of Reed - flat versions, round or half-round versions as well as smoked versions or those that are coloured with dye. Wood strips are also use quite commonly wherein the bark of Ash, walnut or cherry trees are used regularly in the form of rope or strips.
Depending on the kind of basket you are making, the shape, size and orientation of these strips or materials will vary. You can also find sea-grass or sea-weed in hobby stores, often used for the same purpose. There are dyes to add colour to your finished products while the remaining elements including things like stains to give it that old authentic weaving edge as well as ready-made handles or hoops that you can simply attach to your baskets, either through the weaving process itself or by using pins or buttons.
All materials are available at most hobby stores while some stores that sell woven baskets might also have these raw materials for sale. Alternately, if you have the time, you can even go there and find a way to make your own material out of what you have available around your home, in your backyard. Basket weaving, in its own way, is just that versatile and easy to do.
Classification of Basket Weaving
For all purposes, the art of basket weaving can be broken up into four distinct categories. There is coiled basket weaving, or basketry, that involves using grasses or rushes. The process of using a particular technique where the material used is in the form of braids, with wide strips being employed, is called plaiting, just like plaits in the hair.
Twinning is about basket weaving where the main materials used include the roots and barks of trees. The idea is to follow a pattern where two elements cross each other in the form of radial spokes. Finally, there are wicker baskets or splint baskets that are made of Reed or cane or willow. From wood to grass, these materials are commonly used in making wicker baskets and this is also the most common form of basket weaving that is available today.
The art of basket weaving is all about taking the material and using single strands of it to create a pattern in the exact same way that you would normally use in the process of weaving cloth or any other form of weaving. Although this was a practice mostly used in rural and, today, tribal areas, basket weaving has quickly become a hobby for urban people. It is all about putting your time to good use and working with your hands to create beautiful baskets.
What's more, if you get really good at it, you can even start thinking about selling them through your own store or online. There are always so many things and uses of baskets today and from old designs to modern trends to your very own designs, there is no limit to what you can achieve through basket weaving.