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Basketry Book Review

Natural Baskets
Create over Twenty Unique Baskets with Materials Gathered in Gardens, Fields, & Woods

Editor: Gillooly, Maryanne
Editor: Steege, Gwen
Publishing Date: 09/1992
Publisher: Storey Communications, Inc.
Place of Publication: Williamstown, MA
Binding: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Weight: 1.020 lbs.
Dimensions: 10.95 x 8.54 in.1.020 lbs.
LCCN: 91051126
ISBN: 0882667939

Natural Baskets by Maryanne Gillooley - naturalbaskets.jpg (26553 bytes)Locally gathered materials have found their way into woven containers, as long as there have been baskets. Nature provides the raw materials to weave a splendid array of basketry forms, each form specific to the qualities of the materials incorporated. Seven basketmakers offer their expertise in a range of indigenous hand gathered natural basketry materials. Background information on plant materials is blended with harvesting, processing and weaving the various material types. Illustrated how-to information on making over twenty projects is provided.

Each maker, well noted in her own field of expertise, has written a chapter with information on identifying, processing and working with the types of materials they use. Diana Macomber relates the use of horsetail (Equisetum) as a twining material combined with wisteria or round reed spokes. Several small twined round work projects are presented.

Sandy Whalen brings her considerable talent in willow work to the task of assisting the reader in identifying wild willow, harvesting, sorting and preparing it for weaving. Tips on growing your own willow are included as well. Two step by step projects are offered. The projects include instruction on a variety of weaving techniques, handle treatments and border patterns.

Maryanne Gillooly, who also edited the book, wrote a chapter on Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea). This ornamental shrub is often grown in home landscapes and would be a likely candidate for inclusion in your own basketry garden. Project instructions for an open round work bowl and a twig wreath are included in addition to harvesting and processing tips.

Nancy Basket, a Native American of Cherokee descent tells of the spiritual connection she feels with her work. Coiled baskets of Pine needle, cattail and bulrush stitched with raffia are explained. Projects for a round, coiled pine needle bowl, a covered, heart-shaped cattail basket and coiled bulrush egg basket are presented. Teneriffe style weaving used as a decorative element in the heart shaped basket is illustrated and explained. A second chapter, written by Nancy, offers instruction for three garden baskets coiled or braided of broom straw, rye straw, or cornhusks.

Cass Schorsch presents bark basketry techniques and processing tips. Birch bark harvesting, storing and preparation are explained. Projects for a diagonally plaited pouch, straight plaited miniature laundry basket and hand shaped kittenhead basket are available.

Doris Messick explains the intricacies of weaving with vines and growing your own basket garden. She explains not only how to gather the variety of natural vine materials in the wild, but also how to plan a garden filled with plant materials suited for inclusion in your basketry. Projects are for random weave and ribbed baskets of vines, with a selection of variants that encourage you to create a work of your own.

Gerrie Kennedy writes of Shaker inspired baskets of Black Ash woodsplint and horsehair. Basic preparation instructions for the woodsplint and horsehair are included. Two projects are Shaker inspired, mold woven fancy baskets. A third project is a coiled horsehair miniature bowl of Southwest influence.

Clear black and white drawings illustrate the chapters throughout the book. An eight-page, full color photo essay in the center of the book pictures each of the projects.

All the authors of Natural Baskets are well-known and respected basketmakers and teachers. Editor Maryanne Gillooly is a basketmaker, author and floral designer from New Marlboro, Massachusetts. She has exhibited her work in galleries and museums around the United States. She has taught in regional conferences, public schools and rehabilitation centers.

This book is filled with suggestions on how to use the plant materials near you to weave with. When "buying it off the shelf" is not for you, this book is a valuable reference on how to identify, harvest, prepare, use and grow plant materials for basketry. The projects presented are diverse enough to offer something to the beginner, as well as the more advanced weaver.

Buy this Book

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