Monday, March 8, 2010

I've been weaving, or more accurately, sewing pine needle baskets for many years. Growing up in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon, I was surrounded by the long pine needles shed yearly by the Ponderosa Pine trees. There were so many of them! I can't remember where I first saw a pine needle basket, but I was fascinated and amazed that something beautiful could be made from all those darned pine needles. I took a class at the local community college and learned to make the traditional pine needle basket.

Over the years I've challenged myself to go beyond the traditional methods and designs. I found that any shape can be achieved using pliable wet pine needles, wire, raffia, and a little imagination. I've made roses to use as handles on lids; I've made a fruit basket filled with pears and apples; my latest is a tide-pool with a star fish.
This basket goes further away from the design and construction of a traditional pine needle basket. The star fish at the base is a 3 dimensional piece that has a wire skeleton to provide strength and form the star fish. Using raffia I filled in between the wire with a basket weave. The remainder of the base of the basket was done with the traditional coil basket construction. For the sides of the basket I wanted to create the energy of the waves crashing over the tide pool. I wanted to create a sense of rolling motion, turbulence, and the weathering effect waves would have on rocks. To do this I needed to move away from the uniformity of coil construction. For the sides of the basket, I made odd circular/oval shapes and sewed them directly to the basket. I would then continue working a basket coil over that shape anchoring each piece as I went. Rather then building the basket one coil at a time, I would introduce new coils wherever I needed them. The result is an asymmetrical basket which represents the chaos of turbulence, tides, and weathering. At the base is the star fish which is centered in a uniform back ground which could represent the stillness of a deep pool.
Making this basket by far has been the most challenging!

1 comment:

  1. really pretty stuff. you've got a skill there lady.