Basket weaving (also basketry or basket making) is the process of weaving or sewing pliable materials into two- or three dimensional artifacts, such as mats or containers. Craftspeople and artists specialized in making baskets are usually referred to as basket makers and basket weavers.
Basketry is made from a variety of fibrous or pliable materials—anything that will bend and form a shape. Examples include pine straw, willow, oak, wisteria, forsythia, vines, stems, animal hair, hide, grasses, thread, and fine wooden splints.
Classified into four types, according to Catherine Erdly:
Weaving with rattan core (also known as reed) is one of the more popular techniques being practiced, because it is easily available. It is pliable, and when woven correctly, it is very sturdy. Also, while traditional materials like oak, hickory, and willow might be hard to come by, reed is plentiful and can be cut into any size or shape that might be needed for a pattern. This includes flat reed, which is used for most square baskets; oval reed, which is used for many round baskets; and round reed, which is used to twine; another advantage is that reed can also be dyed easily to look like oak or hickory. The type of baskets that reed is used for are most often referred to as "wicker" baskets, though another popular type of weaving known as "twining" is also a technique used in most wicker baskets. Wicker baskets are often used to store grain. Many types of plants can be used to create baskets: dog rose, honeysuckle, blackberry briars once the thorns have been scraped off and many other creepers. Willow was used for its flexibility and the ease with which it could be grown and harvested. Willow baskets were commonly referred to as wickerwork in England. Water hyacinth is currently also being used as a base material in some areas where the plant has become a serious pest. For example, a group in Ibadan led by Achenyo Idachaba have been creating handicrafts in Nigeria.
The parts of a basket are the base, the side walls, and the rim. A basket may also have a lid, handle, or embellishments.
Most baskets begin with a base. The base can either be woven with reed or wooden. A wooden base can come in many shapes to make a wide variety of shapes of baskets. The "static" pieces of the work are laid down first. In a round basket, they are referred to as "spokes"; in other shapes, they are called "stakes" or "staves". Then the "weavers" are used to fill in the sides of a basket.
A wide variety of patterns can be made by changing the size, colour, or placement of a certain style of weave. To achieve a multi-coloured effect, aboriginal artists first dye the twine and then weave the twines together in complex patterns.
While basket weaving is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say just how old the craft is, because natural materials like wood, grass, and animal remains decay naturally and constantly. So without proper preservation, much of the history of basket making has been lost and is simply speculated upon.
The oldest known baskets have been carbon dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years old, earlier than any established dates for archaeological finds of pottery, and were discovered in Faiyum in upper Egypt. Other baskets have been discovered in the Middle East that are up to 7,000 years old. However, baskets seldom survive, as they are made from perishable materials. The most common evidence of a knowledge of basketry is an imprint of the weave on fragments of clay pots, formed by packing clay on the walls of the basket and firing.
During the World Wars, thousands of baskets were used for transporting messenger pigeons. There were also observational balloon baskets, baskets for shell cases and airborne pannier baskets used for dropping supplies of ammunition and food to the troops. Baskets are still around today and have many purposes, including hot air ballooning.
Because vines have always been readily accessible and plentiful for weavers, they have been a common choice for basketry purposes. The runners are preferable to the vine stems because they tend to be straighter. Pliable materials like kudzu vine to more rigid, woody vines like bittersweet, grapevine, honeysuckle, wisteria and smokevine are good basket weaving materials. Although many vines are not uniform in shape and size, they can be manipulated and prepared in a way that makes them easily used in traditional and contemporary basketry. Most vines can be split and dried to store until use. Once vines are ready to be used, they can be soaked or boiled to increase pliability.
The earliest reliable evidence for basketry technology in the Middle East comes from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic phases of Tell Sabi Abyad II and Çatalhöyük. Although no actual basketry remains were recovered, impressions on floor surfaces and on fragments of bitumen suggest that basketry objects were used for storage and architectural purposes. The extremely well-preserved Early Neolithic ritual cave site of Nahal Hemar yielded thousands of intact perishable artefacts, including basketry containers, fabrics, and various types of cordage. Additional Neolithic basketry impressions have been uncovered at Tell es-Sultan (Jericho), Netiv HaGdud, Beidha, Shir, Tell Sabi Abyad III, Domuztepe, Umm Dabaghiyah, Tell Maghzaliyah, Tepe Sarab, Jarmo, and Ali Kosh.
Basketry exists throughout the Indian subcontinent. Since palms are found in the south, basket weaving with this material has a long tradition in Tamil Nadu and surrounding states.
Chinese bamboo weaving, Taiwanese bamboo weaving, Japanese bamboo weaving and Korean bamboo weaving go back centuries. Bamboo is the prime material for making all sorts of baskets, since it is the main material that is available and suitable for basketry. Other materials that may be used are ratan and hemp palm.
In Japan, bamboo weaving is registered as a traditional Japanese craft (工芸 kōgei) with a range of fine and decorative arts.
Basketry is a traditional practice across the Pacific islands of Polynesia. It uses natural materials like pandanus, coconut fibre, hibiscus fibre, and New Zealand flax according to local custom. Baskets are used for food and general storage, carrying personal goods, and fishing.
Native Americans traditionally make their baskets from the materials available locally.
Arctic and Subarctic tribes use sea grasses for basketry. At the dawn of the 20th century, Inupiaq men began weaving baskets from baleen, a substance derived from whale jaws, and incorporating walrus ivory and whale bone in basketry.
In New England, they weave baskets from Swamp Ash. The wood is peeled off a felled log in strips, following the growth rings of the tree. Maine and Great Lakes tribes use black ash splints. They also weave baskets from sweet grass, as do Canadian tribes. Birchbark is used throughout the Subarctic, by a wide range of tribes from Dene to Ojibwa to Mi'kmaq. Birchbark baskets are often embellished with dyed porcupine quills. Some of the more notable styles are Nantucket Baskets and Williamsburg Baskets. Nantucket Baskets are large and bulky, while Williamsburg Baskets can be any size, so long as the two sides of the basket bow out slightly and get larger as it is woven up.
Southeastern tribes, such as the Atakapa, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chitimacha, traditionally use split river cane for basketry. A particularly difficult technique for which these tribes are known is double-weave or double-wall basketry, in which each basketry is formed by an interior and exterior wall seamlessly woven together. Doubleweave, although rare, is still practiced today, for instance by Mike Dart (Cherokee Nation).
Northwestern tribes use spruce root, cedar bark, and swampgrass. Ceremonial basketry hats are particularly valued by Northeast tribes and are worn today at potlatches. Traditionally, women wove basketry hats, and men painted designs on them. Delores Churchill is a Haida from Alaska who began weaving in a time when Haida basketry was in decline, but she and others have ensured it will continue by teaching the next generation.
Indigenous peoples of California and Great Basin are known for their basketry skills. Coiled baskets are particularly common, woven from sumac, yucca, willow, and basket rush. The works by Californian basket makers include many pieces in museums.
The type of baskets that reed is used for are most often referred to as "wicker" baskets, though another popular type of weaving known as "twining" is also a technique used in most wicker baskets.
Popular styles of wicker baskets are vast, but some of the more notable styles in the United States are Nantucket Baskets and Williamsburg Baskets. Nantucket Baskets are large and bulky, while Williamsburg Baskets can be any size, so long as the two sides of the basket bow out slightly and get larger as it is weaved up.
A basket is a container that is traditionally constructed from stiff fibers, and can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints, runners, and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, baleen, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are generally woven by hand. Some baskets are fitted with a lid, while others are left open on top.Basketry of Mexico
Basketry of Mexico has its origins far into the pre Hispanic period, pre-dating ceramics and the domestication of fire. By the time the Spanish arrived, there were a number of indigenous forms, a number of which are still made today. These and products that the Spanish introduced form the combined tradition that remains today. Like other Mexican handcrafts, sales to tourists and collectors is important, but basketry is not as popular as other handcrafts. Basketry techniques and materials vary from region to region depending on the vegetation available (with about eighty species of plant use nationwide), with important traditions in Sonora, State of Mexico, Michoacán, Veracruz, Oaxaca and the Yucatán Peninsula.Bicycle basket
A bicycle basket is a bicycle-mounted basket for carrying cargo, usually light cargo. They are usually used for light shopping duties such as going on daily visits to the shops for fresh bread or milk. Baskets are often mounted on the handlebars and made of traditional basket weaving materials such as wicker and cane or even woven plastic that merely looks like wicker or cane. They can also be made of other materials such as metal mesh.Calathus (basket)
A calathus or kalathos (Ancient Greek: κάλαθος, plural calathi or kalathoi κάλαθοι) was a basket in the form of a top hat, used to hold wool or fruit, often used in ancient Greek art as a symbol of abundance and fertility. These baskets were made by weaving together reeds or twigs. They were typically used by women to store skeins of wool, but they had other uses in the household. In Roman times, there are reports for baskets of these sorts to be used in agricultural activities like bringing in the fruits from the fields.The word was also used to describe ceramic vases designed in the shape of the calathus basket, which is the usual application in archaeology, since vases have survived while baskets have not.The calathus usually had a narrow base and a flared top. The decoration on some of the ceramic calathi is taken to imitate the woven texture of a basket. This can be achieved by a painted design, but many calathi have open-work cut into their sides and some have impressed decoration. Calathi may occur with or without handles. In both the Greek and Roman worlds these baskets had many uses, but were especially associated with wool working and the harvest.
The calathus is principally a multifunctional basket. Literary sources report that, depending on the context, the calathus could contain wool, but also food (bread, cheese, milk, fruits and vegetables), small animals or flowers. The calathi were most often made of willow rods, but other examples made from clay, metal, glass and stone are also known. A silver calathus with a golden rim is mentioned by Homer as belonging to Helen, this one even ran on wheels. Calathi are also depicted on Greek vases in other contexts. Illustrations on south-Italian vases make use of the calathus as a symbol of a future marital relationship.In Cyprus, a fragmentary figurine of a woman wearing a crown (polos in the shape of a calathus) has been identified as Aphrodite. Similar crowned limestone heads have been found all over the island. The calathus has traditionally been interpreted as a fertility symbol, reserved for goddesses or their priestesses.Carrie Bethel
Carrie McGowan Bethel (1898–1974) was a Mono Lake Paiute - Kucadikadi (Northern Paiute) basketmaker associated with Yosemite National Park. She was born Carrie McGowan in Lee Vining, California and began making baskets at the age of 12. She participated in basket making competitions in the Yosemite Indian Field Days in 1926 and 1929. She gave basket weaving demonstrations at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition Carrie Bethel was one of a group of Mono-Paiute women "became known for their exceedingly fine, visually stunning and complex polychrome baskets." Other basket weaving artists in this group included Nellie Charlie and Lucy Telles.
Carrie McGowan Bethel died in Lee Vining, in 1974.Chinese folk art
Chinese folk art are artistic forms inherited from a regional or ethnic scene in China. Usually there are some variation between provinces. Individual folk arts have a long history, and many traditions are still practiced today. The general definition of folk art incorporates Chinese art forms that are not classified as Chinese fine art.
Chinese Folk art is the ancient forms of art that originated in China. Some of these ancient art forms include jade carvings, performance art such as music and their respective instruments, textile art such as basket weaving, paper art and clothing.Creel (basket)
A Creel is a wicker basket usually used for carrying fish or blocks of peat. It is also the cage used to catch lobsters and other crustaceans.
In modern times it has come to mean a range of types of wicker baskets used by anglers or commercial fishermen to hold fish or other prey. The word is also found in agriculture and for some domestic baskets.In the North Sea herring industry of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the creel was a basket used to measure the volume of a catch. The standard measure were creel which were made in officially approved volumes of one half and one quarter cran. A cran (Gaelic kræn) was a unit of capacity used for measuring fresh herring, equal to 37.5 imperial gallons.An angler's creel is designed to function as an evaporative cooler when lined with moss and dipped into the creek in order to keep the catch chilled. Caught fish are inserted through a slot in the top which is held in place by a small leather strap.Creels are also the high sides added to a towed trailer. This makes the trailer more suitable for carrying loose material, such as turf etc.Kete (basket)
Kete are traditional baskets made and used by New Zealand's Māori people. They may be of many sizes, but are most often found in sizes similar to large handbags. Kete are traditionally woven from the leaves of New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax, known in Māori as harakeke), with two handles at the top. Other materials are sometimes used, including the leaves of the nikau palm and cabbage tree.In pre-European society, Māori had specific plantations of flax, which was their most important textile. It was prepared by cutting the green leaves close to the base before the leaves were split and woven. Various preparations of the leaves allowed the material to be used both as a hardy flat thick-woven material (as in kete and mats) and also as a fibrous twine, used for creating both rope and finely woven cloaks.Lodwar
Lodwar is the largest town in north-western Kenya, located west of Lake Turkana on the A1 road. Its main industries are basket weaving and tourism. The Loima Hills lie to its west. Lodwar is the capital of Turkana County. The town has a population of 48,316.Mary Jane Manigault
Mary Jane Manigault (June 13, 1913 – November 8, 2010) was a sweetgrass basket maker from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She began sweetwater basket-weaving at a young age, and the tradition has been continued by her children and grandchildren. The art of sweetwater basket-weaving is an important tradition in the Gullah culture and has been a prominent practice in communities brought over to the United States as early slaves.She was a recipient of a 1984 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.Movere
The Mové, also called Movere, Western Guaymi, or Ngäbere, are a Chibchan (Dorasque-Guaymi) speaking people in Panama (150,000) and Costa Rica (4,300). This tribe, like the Murire (Eastern Guaymi), is a division of the Guaymi. They are further subdivided into the Valiente.
The Mové live in the rainforest as hunters and gatherers of wild plants. Among their crafts are basket weaving and pottery.Pomo
The Pomo are an indigenous people of California. The historic Pomo territory in northern California was large, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and mainly between Cleone and Duncans Point. One small group, the Northeastern Pomo of the Stonyford vicinity of Colusa County, was separated from the core Pomo area by lands inhabited by Yuki and Wintuan speakers.
The name pomo derives from a conflation of the Pomo words [pʰoːmoː] and [pʰoʔmaʔ]. It originally meant "those who live at red earth hole" and was once the name of a village in southern Potter Valley near the present-day community of Pomo. It may have referred to local deposits of the red mineral magnesite, used for red beads, or to the reddish earth and clay, such as hematite, mined in the area. In the Northern Pomo dialect, -pomo or -poma was used as a suffix after the names of places, to mean a subgroup of people of the place. By 1877 (possibly beginning with Powers), the use of Pomo had been extended in English to mean the entire people known today as the Pomo. The Pomo had 20 chiefs at the same time.Putcher fishing
Putcher fishing is a type of fishing (usually of salmon) which employs a large number of putcher baskets, set in a fixed wooden frame, against the tide in a river estuary, notably on the River Severn, in England and South East Wales. Putchers are placed in rows, standing four or five high, in a wooden "rank" set out against the incoming and/or outgoing tides.Traditionally the putcher was made of hazel rods with withy (willow) plait, both materials being grown locally on the Caldicot and Wentloog Levels. Modern baskets made of steel or aluminium wire were introduced in the 1940s and 1950s.Sokuri
Sokuri (Korean: 소쿠리, pronounced [so.kʰu.ɾi]) is a round, rimmed woven basket made of finely-split bamboo. It is used for straining washed grains, drying vegetables, or draining fried food in Korea.It measures between 25 to 50 cm in diameter, and has a standing contour measuring some 4 cm.Sussex trug
A Sussex trug is a wooden basket. It is made from a handle and rim of coppiced sweet chestnut wood which is hand-cleft then shaved using a drawknife. The body of the trug is made of five or seven thin boards of cricket bat willow, also hand-shaved with a drawknife. They may have originated in Sussex because of the abundance of chestnut coppice and willows found on the marshes. Nails or pins used are usually copper, to avoid rust.
Shapes and sizes became standardised, the most well-known shape being the "common or garden" trug ranging in volume from one pint to a bushel. However, there is a diverse range of traditional trugs from garden and oval trugs to the more specialised "large log" and "walking stick" trugs.Tapioca
Tapioca (; Portuguese: [tapiˈɔkɐ]) is a starch extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant (Manihot esculenta). This species is native to the north region and central-west region of Brazil, but its use spread throughout South America. The plant was carried by Portuguese and Spanish explorers to most of the West Indies and Africa and Asia. It is a perennial shrub adapted to the hot conditions of tropical lowlands. Cassava copes better with poor soils than many other food plants.
Although tapioca is a staple food for millions of people in tropical countries, it provides only carbohydrate food value, and is low in protein, vitamins and minerals. In other countries, it is used as a thickening agent in various manufactured foods.Tussock (grass)
Tussock grasses or bunch grasses are a group of grass species in the family Poaceae. They usually grow as singular plants in clumps, tufts, hummocks, or bunches, rather than forming a sod or lawn, in meadows, grasslands, and prairies. As perennial plants, most species live more than one season. Tussock grasses are often found as forage in pastures and ornamental grasses in gardens.Many species have long roots that may reach 2 meters (6.6 ft) or more into the soil, which can aid slope stabilization, erosion control, and soil porosity for precipitation absorption. Also, their roots can reach moisture more deeply than other grasses and annual plants during seasonal or climatic droughts. The plants provide habitat and food for insects (including Lepidoptera), birds, small animals and larger herbivores, and support beneficial soil mycorrhiza. The leaves supply material, such as for basket weaving, for indigenous peoples and contemporary artists.
Tussock and bunch grasses occur in almost any habitat where other grasses are found, including: grasslands, savannas and prairies, wetlands and estuaries, riparian zones, shrublands and scrublands, woodlands and forests, montane and alpine zones, tundra and dunes, and deserts.Underwater basket weaving
Underwater basket weaving is an idiom referring in a negative way to supposedly useless or absurd college or university courses and often generally to refer to a perceived decline in educational standards.The term also serves as an intentionally humorous generic answer to questions about an academic degree. It is also used to humorously refer to any non-academic elective course, specifically one that does not count towards any graduation requirements.Wood splitting
Wood splitting (riving, cleaving) is an ancient technique used in carpentry to make lumber for making wooden objects, some basket weaving, and to make firewood. Unlike wood sawing, the wood is split along the grain using tools such as a hammer and wedges, splitting maul, cleaving axe, side knife, or froe.