I have been busy working on my baskets over the past couple of weeks. Working far too late and getting up far too early, to start again the next day. It seems foolish to waste the long daylight hours of summer, when I have more energy and inclination to push myself this hard.
There is so much to be done – learning techniques, making baskets, gathering plants from the garden, drying and wrapping them for later use. Not to mention working on this blog and getting my Folksy shop in order.
Despite the long hours I am feeling good, which is really down to the fact that I am having so much fun with it. I find it fascinating and the extra level of connection to the craft which is brought from gathering my own materials is very satisfying.
I have been working on a series of four raffia baskets to initially release into my shop. So far, I am two baskets in. They are all different shapes but with a common colour theme and I am really enjoying imagining a basket and then bringing it to life.
I am learning more every day and have particularly enjoyed working out the different handles.
While I have been busy making up these raffia baskets, I have also been drying large quantities of plants for use over the winter months.
Our little bit of land is overflowing with grasses and wild plants right now. I am being careful to let things seed or take only a small amount from each clump, so that we will have just as bountiful a supply next year.
Matt found some old hooks in his workshop and has put them up the stairway for me. This particular spot seems to have just the right amount of ventilation and warmth, for perfect drying results.
In between baskets, I couldn’t resist using a few of these foraged fibres, so I decided to have a go at making some cordage. I used some of the common rush that grows prolifically in this area. I split a single blade into four strips and wetted them slightly, to make them easier to work with.
After a couple of inches worth of work, I started to get into a good rhythm and had soon twisted the full length of the strips into cordage. I found that it was quite simple to feed in another set of strips, so that I could keep going.
I am really pleased to have learned this skill and am looking forward to trying out different fibres and techniques, to make a variety of cordage.
There is something so satisfying about making something out of very little. In fact, I am taking things that would otherwise be cleared and made into compost and turning them into beautiful and useful things.
I know that my passion for basket making and related crafts is only going to grow and I am so pleased, that it is making me feel more grounded and connected, to this beautiful island where we now find ourselves living.