Friday, 3 March 2017

Which basket will you take home?

Which basket will you take home? At Weaving by the Sea 2017 Monica Guilera will focus on two great traditional baskets used by fishermen along the Catalan coastline. The first of these is the Catalan Cove  - Fisherman's landing basket that was made in a variety of sizes according to the catch and made with whole and split willow. One of the special features of this strong and economically made baskets is the now rarely seen cross base - also called the 'donkey base' - not because it was used for donkey baskets as you might think but because it was 'every day' and - apologies to the donkeys - quite simple! Simple in structure though it may be - compared to the well known Catalan and French bases that followed, the donkey base is very attractive and like the Catalan base has the great benefit of adding all the stakes right from the beginning.

Fishermen would unload their catches with these baskets forming chains of men walking up the beach to market their fish. We hope to re-enact this at the end of the course this year!

During our second week of courses Monica will teach the beautiful Fisherman's Nansa basket used by fishermen to carry their lunch, tools and whatever else they needed for a good day's fishing. During the course you will personalise your basket with your choices of colour and proportion.

Twining in World Traditions and Flexible Basketry Structures with Tim Johnson

Above: Openwork Pandanus basket by Rosie Bindal Bindal, Yilan near Maningrida, NT, Australia.

Now that all our courses for Weaving by the Sea 2017 are organised and online we can share with you some of the ideas and inspirations behind the workshops to come. Tim has already posted some images on his website here: ....some of my favourite baskets are twined featuring beautiful twined baskets from around the world which will be the inspiration for his course Twining in World Traditions , and no doubt on Tim's travels in Australia this spring he will continue to gather inspiration, samples and some of the extraordinary stories and making details that are densely woven into the diverse aboriginal twining tradition. 

Twining traditions exist all around the globe and the technique combined with the specifics of local materials have, over thousands of years, solved a huge variety of practical needs including gathering, winnowing, trapping, storage, costume and decoration. This adaptable technique offers the contemporary maker with one of the most useful joining techniques and all kinds of materials may be woven together utilising it's innate strength. 
Many baskets combine a variety of techniques and do not fit neatly into categorised collections. Above two related baskets used for sieving grain and flour combine coiling - to make a strong container and means of holding while sieving, and twined openwork bases to create a mesh to allow sifting.The top one is from Italy while the bottom one with extra fine alternate pair twining is made by the Oromo people of Ethiopia.

The special basket below while similar in form to the sieves above was used along the Catalan coastline to hold baited fishing longlines, while not twined this piece combines a braided esparto border with knotted netting which will feature in Tim's first course Flexible Basketry Structures - looping, netting and knotting.