Our instructor, Margaret Mathewson of the Ancient Arts Center, also an adjunct professor of Oregon State University, begins by teaching us about the gathering, stripping and soaking of the willow bark. Basically,basket making starts with the same method most of us learned as children when we plaited construction paper strips. It’s the same concept. I felt safe at this point. Until I started to weave the sides. Oh no,all I could see was a bunch of pokey strips going everywhere. And I was supposed to make some sense of all that? Ugh.
Just a scant three hours later, I finished my pouch type basket. I was thrilled! But not so much about my basket as knowing that my brain, when coaxed, can still learn somethin’ new.
At the beginning of class I was told we would have enough time to make two baskets, the pouch type and a flat bottomed one. I was happy just to finish my pouch one!
We enjoyed a nice little lunch prepared by Farmer Chrissie. Saffron Chicken over puff pastry, tossed greens, and homemade ice cream. All using Kookoolan Farms organically grown meats, veggies and raw milk products. Delightful.
My finished basket.
Not bad for a beginner. See those little holes? Their not supposed to be there. Basketry takes a fair amount of hand strength (and brain strength). You are constantly tugging and clipping,to keep it all snug.
When I got home I was checking out the limbs of the old walnut tree out back of our place. I still want to make the flat bottom basket. Soon,before I forget.