Sunday, February 7, 2010

Martha's Steel Reinforced Starfish

For Assignment No. 3 the problem I worked on was to make a reinforced base in which to build a coil basket around. I have been weaving pine needle baskets for many (many) years and have developed a technique for creating 3 dimensional shapes such a fruit/flowers/seashells. I use these woven shapes as a decoration or handle for the basket. I then weave a pine needle basket in the traditional method. That is, a coil basket made of pine needle coils (8-inch long pine needles bundled into a coil) laced together with raffia.

For several months I've been wanting to incorporate the shape of a starfish into my baskets. I had thought I could sew dried starfish (the kind you buy at tourist stores) onto the bottom of the basket. On one basket I created a 2-dimensional shape. Unfortunately everything I tried was too fragile. I needed to develop a starfish shape that was sound enough to bear weight (a load of fruit in a basket). I've been toying around with the idea of making a soldered wire frame covered with a raffia woven "skin". The frame would provide enough strength to build the remainder of the basket around.

I started working on this over a week ago and have spent about 2-3 hours per day working on it. I was successful.

This is the wire frame that I made. I use steel wire and soldered each piece.

This is where I'm using raffia to weave a covering over the wire frame.

Once I finished covering the frame I took a 4-inch brass ring and covered that in the rafia. I then attached the starfish to the brass ring and then wove in the gaps.
This is a very sturdy "base" in which to weave the coil basket around.

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