Life Skills for over 60 – Basket Weaving

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Life Skills for over 60 – Basket Weaving

my basket

            Last weekend I attended a basket weaving class at the University.  It sounded like a fun easy way to pass the day.  I was delighted that the material was not seaweed as first advertised instead it was sea grass imported from SE Asia.  (Do we not have sea grass in the USA?  Perhaps it was a good will trade arrangement ….)

            How difficult can basket weaving be?  Isn’t it the metaphor for simple mindedness?  After 5 hours, I had a new appreciation for those ‘primitives’, who routinely whipped out a basket to carry, store and decorate.  Plus they were functional and artistic.

Some of the skills needed &/or developed in the process include manual dexterity and flexibility, focus and excellent memory to recall the pattern being woven.  We learned a basic over/under weave that sounds simple but is easily lost in the chaos of separating the weaver strand from that being woven on.

Our instructor had to reminded us that Mother Nature does not adhere to standardized rules when forming its grass.  Some of the strands were much thicker than others.

Dan basket Hand dexterity  & flexibility

MA basket Improved concentration and memory

         Soon the class began muttering mantras to their weaver strands to keep on track.

“Start on the left,

Over, Under, Turn”

Despite similar instructions and material, it didn’t take long for individual differences to appear in the baskets.   Some were very tightly woven, while others displayed a more open weave.  Some progressed fast, others were slow to take shape.

New weaving patterns were born spontaneously as if the grass had its own design imbedded in its fibers.  Our instructor was wise and didn’t insist on uniformity.  She did point out when our fingers were deviating from the pattern and allowed us to decide if we wanted to continue with the new design or unweave back to the original.

I didn’t complete my basket with a rim before the time ended.   I’m considering calling it “Form to Chaos” and leaving it as a sculpture.

my basket Almost done

What do you think?

5 responses »

  1. Kudos. These are dying arts. My grandmother used to basket weave chair bottoms and make cane bottomed chairs. In Charleston SC, there is a group of black women who make beautiful art basket weaving. Ornamental plates, bowls and vases. They sell them at the downtown marketplace. They aren’t exactly affordable though 😉

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