Julie Gurr-Willowweaver

Contemporary and Traditional Basketry

Category: Projects (page 1 of 2)

Baskets From Found Materials 19 – Grass

This month my basket is made from materials obtained during my trip to Scotland last October.

Grass Basket

There are two different types of grass in the basket. The darker one is one that was cut from Dundee Botanic Gardens where I had been demonstrating at an open day. My friend Clare, the gardener had saved it when working in the gardens. I twisted this one into a length of cord.

Grass

The other lighter coloured grass is marram grass (I think) collected on the Isle of Arran when I was back there visiting friends. I split this into finer strands and used it to tie coils of the other grass together to form a basket.

Grass Basket

I need more practise to get it less wibbly wobbly shaped but it is useful as a pen holder!

Grass Basket Pen Holder

Baskets From Found Materials 18 – Wrapping Paper

xmas basket 030

This basket was made using used Christmas wrapping paper.

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After Christamas everyone has a pile of used wrapping paper. For this basket rather than just throw it away, I thought I would try and use some of it. After ripping the paper into strips I twisted them into a length of rope.

xmas basket 022

Then, using some bits of raffia that had been used to tie one of the presents I coiled the paper rope into a small basket.

xmas basket 034

You can see the coils clearly spiralling up when looking down on the basket.

xmas basket 031

Baskets from Found Materials 17 – New Zealand Flax

New Zealand Flax Basket

Basket from New Zealand Flax (freshly made)

This is a small basket I learnt to make years ago. It is made from New Zealand Flax (phormium tenax) and is a traditional basket made by Maori’s in New Zealand.

Underside of Basket made from New Zealand Flax

Underside of Basket made from New Zealand Flax

I got the materials from Dundee Botanic Gardens when I was working there demonstrationg basketry with natural fibres at an open day they had.

New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax)

New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax)

The long leaves are split into strips to make the basket. I was told by the person that taught me how to make this basket that it was used as a sort of disposable bowl. It is made fairly quickly with fresh leaves from the plant and can be used for eating out of. As it dries however the strips of the leaves shrink and the basket gets very gappy so is no longer as useful.

New Zealand Flax Basket

Basket from New Zealand Flax (a week after making it)

Baskets From Found Materials 16 – Bindweed and Cordyline

My latest basket from found materials uses cord made from bindweed and fibres from cordyline leaves. To get from my house to my workshop in Hastings I have to walk down 300 steps to the bottom of the hill I live on. These steps are overgrown with a variety of materials that I might be able to use in the future.

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But in particular there seems to be an abundance of bindweed growing over and down the walls and fences on each side.

Bindweed

After harvesting I left the bindweed to dry a little and then stripped the leaves before making it into a cord.

Bindweed cord

I then coiled the cord sewing the coils with fibres from cordyline leaves that I found in the street near my house.

Bindweed Coiled Basket

This is a small sample but I hope to make bigger baskets with this material in the future

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Baskets From Found Materials 15 – Bindweed and Mystery Plant Material.

Well after having settled in, in Hastings, I am back with my Baskets From Found Materials project. As I am now busy with my business here I am not committing to a basket a week, but hope to do one at least one a month, if not more often!

My latest ‘found materials’ basket is made with bindweed and another plant I found the dried remains of growing in the hedgrows.

Bindweed Random

Bindweed is a plant I do not remember seeing in Scotland, where I used to live, but around here it is a curse to gardeners, its long tendrils winding their way up and around other plants. There is loads of bindweed growing in various places here in Hastings and I will be using it for my next basket as well and so will talk more about it, and show pictures of it, then. Meanwhile I’ll just explain that for this irregular dish shaped basket I used cord made from the bindweed and combined it with the other mystery plant material in a random weave. It’s not particularly strong so probably not very functional but was an interesting experiment and the result is quite decorative.

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Baskets From Found Materials Week 14 – Moss and Wool

This week as in week 5 I used hair moss that I collected on Arran……

Hair Moss

Hair Moss

…….together with some odd strands of wool that I found at home.

Strands of Wool

Strands of Wool

I made the moss into rope and coiled it into a bowl shape sowing the coils together with the wool. The result was very nice!

Basket from Hair Moss and Wool

Basket from Hair Moss and Wool

 

Baskets From Found Materials Week 13 – More Telephone Wire

This week I am using telephone wire again.

 

Shallow Basket made from Telephone Wires

Shallow Basket made from Telephone Wires

I guess now that everything is wireless we do not have such a need for telephone cables and, this week, I still had lots left after making baskets with them last week, and the week before. Like last week I stripped these down to reveal several multicoloured wires.

Multicoloured Telephone Wires

Multicoloured Telephone Wires

As I was pleased with last week’s basket I decided to use the same random weave style. I wanted to refine my technique and see if I could control the shape to make it wider and shallower. I also decided to be more selective with the coloured wires I used and went for a ‘rasta’ feel with red, yellow, green, and black.

Shallow Basket made from Telephone Wires

Shallow Basket made from Telephone Wires

The result was indeed shallower and wider, and also accidentally ended up with an interesting kidney bean shape!

Looking down on the telephone wire basket

Looking down on the basket

 

 

 

Baskets From Found Materials Week 12 – Telephone Wire

Basket From Telephone Wire

Basket From Telephone Wire

You may remember that last week I made a basket using some old telephone cables. I still had loads of these left over and so decided to see if I could find a further use for them. I peeled off the plastic cable coating of one to see what was inside.

coiled baskets 225Four fine wires, themselves with a plastic coating were revealed and each was a different colour. Amazing!

Telephone Cable Showing Multicoloured Wires Inside

Telephone Cable Showing Multicoloured Wires Inside

I found that other cables had different coloured wires inside and so ended up with red, green, black, white, yellow, blue, and gold wires. Experimenting with these I ended up with a small, multicoloured, random weave basket.

Basket From Telephone Wire

Basket From Telephone Wire

Definitely something I would like to experiment with more!

Baskets From Found Materials Week 11 – Telephone Cable and Garden Tie Wire

I have just recently moved home and while packing found some old cables and wires stored at the back of cupboards. I thought these would be useful for baskets in the future and rather than throwing them out decided to keep them. I have used some of them for this weeks basket.

Basket made from Telephone Cable and Garden Tie Wire

Basket made from Telephone Cable and Garden Tie Wire

I used a length of telephone cable…..

Telephone Cables

Telephone Cables

……coiled around and tied with garden tie wire …….

Garden Tie Wire

Garden Tie Wire

……to create a small basket.

Basket made from Telephone Cable and Garden Tie Wire

Basket made from Telephone Cable and Garden Tie Wire

The twist of the wire between the coils of telephone cable creates an open weave and quite an interesting effect.

Looking Down on Telephone Cable Basket

Looking Down on Telephone Cable Basket

I ran out of the garden tie wire but if I had more I could continue this technique to make a larger basket.

Baskets From Found Materials Week 10 – Fish Net and Other Stuff

Fish Net Basket

Fish Net Basket

This week I used an old fish net that I found on the beach as the main framework for the basket.

Old Fish Net Found On The Beach

Old Fish Net Found On The Beach

The net was made into a cylindrical shape and then string made from natural materials found on Arran, plus strands of beach rope, were woven randomly into it. Here are some of the materials I used.

Seaweed

Seaweed

Cordyline Trees

Cordyline Leaves

Hair Moss

Hair Moss

Rope Found on the Beach

Rope Found on the Beach

The result was a hanging basket about 10 inches deep.

Fish Net Basket

Fish Net Basket

 

 

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