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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Weaving a Creative Life: An Interview with Char of Someplace in Time

Rib Style Basket
We recently “sat down” with Char from Someplace in Time to discuss the craft of basket weaving, the changes the craft has seen in recent years, and what inspires her.

How long have you been weaving baskets?

I’ve been weaving handmade baskets for about 16 years now and have enjoyed every minute of the adventure.

What got you started weaving?

My husband was stationed in Germany in the early 1990's when I first began taking lessons. There were two pilot wives that both wove very different styles of baskets, and they taught me to weave. Both had been weaving and selling professionally for many years. I was very fortunate to have come across them at a time in my life when I was open to such wonderful craft.

Do you follow a particular school or weave in a particular style? Do you belong to any national or international societies for weavers?

One of the methods of weaving I use is by following a printed basket pattern. Instructions are complete from the length and quantity of reed to cut, to the steps to follow from start to finish. My favorite way to weave is to make my own border, insert ribs, and let the design take me where it wants to go. This way, no two baskets are ever the same. You never know what you’ll end up with! It's a surprise with a certain amount of control on the part of the weaver. I belong to a group of weavers from all over the United States that holds weaving conventions in various locations once a year.

Wine Basket

What changes have you seen in the craft over the past decade or so?

I don't think the weaving world has changed much with time; that's to say, the techniques are probably pretty much the same. The methods and the materials don't really change, but the craft itself, I think, has taken a nose dive. If you look back in time, everyone used baskets in everyday life, from gathering food and laundry to drinking water and ale. There were even suitcases made out of reed, and adorable baskets for your bikes. In many cities in the United States, you can still find weavers doing and sharing their craft with the public, and many selling at craft shows and doing demos in museums, etc.

I think, like many crafters, that we’ve seen the arts change with the influx of inexpensive imports. It's a shame really when it becomes hard to find something handmade with love in the U.S.A. I would rather pay a little more and have something special that can be handed down to future generations, than to pay a little for something that won't last and will end up being thrown in the trash. Mass produced means nothing to me other than hundreds of other people owning the same exact thing.

Reed Style Basket

Describe the weaving "community." Are basket weavers a close-knit community? Are they open to sharing their skills with other weavers? Or do some hold their "secrets" close?

In my opinion, this craft is better seen--more popular if you will--in the south and on the east coast. Maybe that's because there are more craft fairs in those locations where the art of weaving is more appreciated. Because I am now residing in the Southwest, Indian weaving is highly sought after, so that is competition I am not interested in pursuing. I think sharing one’s knowledge of this craft is the same as any other. Some will and some won't give away trade secrets. I usually share all my knowledge with anyone who will listen! I do believe that what goes around comes around, so if I can help a fellow crafter better herself, I will. I’ve never taught weaving, although I have been asked many times. I don't feel I have the patience for teaching, and that is the sole reason I haven't ventured into that side of the craft.

What other crafts do you do? What crafting tool can you not live without?
I grew up crafting and have tried just about everything you can think of. I used to smock for our daughter, who is now grown. I’ve done ceramics, knitting, crocheting, tole painting, stained glass (I still do glass), pottery, and the list goes on and on. I’ve been sewing forever, and it’s my number one craft at the moment. The one crafting item I could never be without is a pair of scissors, and when I weave, I have to stand up!

What inspires your baskets?

Weaving comes in spurts. When our grand-daughter was born, I wove an Easter basket for her as well as one for our son and daughter. I weave baskets for our neighbors at Christmas and fill them with homemade cookies and candies. That’s how I keep my fingers in the craft! I’ve been told by other weavers that baskets are “coming back into style.” It's funny, because I really never thought they went out. I think there isn't a room that can't be made better looking with a basket of some sort sitting around somewhere doing a job of holding towels, magazines, napkins, plants, remotes, toys and on and on and on.

There is no greater hostess gift in my opinion than showing up with a bottle of wine in a great basket, or a basket filled with beautiful napkins and candles. You just left a keepsake with a friend.

"Autumn" Basket

Thanks, Char!

Be sure to visit Char's Etsy shop Someplace in Time and her blog, Someplace in Thyme.


Southern Lady's Vintage said...

These baskets are gorgeous! What a wonderful craft. Thank you for sharing this artisan with us!

The Rose Cottage said...

I really enjoyed this interview with Char. Your baskets are amazing, just love your work. I also thing your hand sewn creations are beautiful too :)

Sherry/Cherie said...

This was a wonderful interview and I could feel Char's love of craft and art come through her words. I especially connected to her comments about sharing her craft and her "secrets" and wanting to be open about how to create. This is the soul of a true artisan.

Char's baskets are beautiful and delightful. Making something with your own hands to give as a gift -- there is nothing better and I really really connected to the fact that Char stands up when making a basket -- I stand up to paint, create and do anything artsy -- it feels "wrong" to be sitting!!

Ruth Welter said...

These are all so wonderful Char...It is hard to pick a favorite...a beautiful craft and an intense love of what you do is obvious in all the photos.

Paul Sears Photography said...

Very cool - definitely going to point the mrs. and her mom in Char's direction.

gail said...

Hi Char,, I was looking around the cottage style etsy blog, and here you are!!! What a great interview. YOur baskets are just beautiful.. Stay in touch, (and stay in the air conditioning, LOL) (()) gail

Karen said...

Your Baskets are wonderful Char! Thank you for sharing :)

Karen at Ciderantiques

The Catnap Cottage said...

I just love Char's baskets, what a gift she has for weaving those wonderful creations!! I took basketweaving at John C. Campbell Folk School years ago and made a few, but nothing like Char's baskets - I want one now. Going to visit her shop - Thanks for the wonderful interview!!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Great baskets and I love your bluebird. Good luck with your entry to my giveaway.