Words by Julie Pointer Photographs by Laura Dart Styling by Jen Vitale Location The Barn in Tivoli
We wanted to learn how to weave a basket made from foraged materials. Follow along and you can make one too.
Most of our foraging these days extends no farther than getting caught up in the dense tangle of the interwebs, always looking for that fresh batch of inspiration. But sometimes the most valuable kind of awakening can be found in your own backyard, the park down the street or in the wild woods just hours outside the city. We took some time to amble and found that collecting materials for making a basket was pretty darn simple.
The weaving process can be as complicated as you want to make it, but we opted for a simple, cross-hatch pattern, along with some improvisation along the way. For a more sophisticated weaving pattern, check out your local thrift store or used bookshop to find an old how-to book on traditional approaches. Don’t be too fastidious about the rules; it’s fun to experiment and let things develop naturally. Even with our rather unruly technique, we managed to make something sturdy enough for strawberry-ing. The quiet, repetitive act of working with your hands and trying something new clears the mind for a whole new wave of creative stimulation—we promise.
A casual step-by-step:
1. Collect a good number of sturdy reeds, vines, pliable branches or what have you. No special tools are necessary—perhaps just bring along some scissors or a sharp knife. It’s best if your materials are long, straight and bendy. If your materials have dried out too much once you’re ready to weave, you can soak them for several hours or overnight to make them more workable.
2. You’ll start by creating the base of the basket—these first pieces are called the static pieces, or in a round basket they’re referred to as spokes. You’ll need to decide if you want a square or rounded base (which will look like a web when you first begin). The length of your base pieces helps determine how large your basket will be.
3. Once your base is set, you’ll start incorporating the weavers into the static pieces or spokes. While the terminology may sound fancy, as soon as the pieces are in your hands the process becomes intuitive and it doesn’t much matter if the results are a bit wonky and flawed. In fact, we think the irregularities add character.
Good materials for weaving:
+ Vines: English ivy, kudzu, grapevine, honeysuckle, wisteria, blackberry vines (with the thorns stripped)
+ Young willow
+ Marsh reeds
+ Wild grasses