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 BasketWhat 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.
Reed Style BasketDescribe 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.