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Presentations text content in BASKETRY









Joyce Ramirez




and basket making played an important role in ancient history. The word "


" is derived from the Greek word



which is a

basket woven of plaited branches and twigs



early as 4,000 BC, Sumerians used baskets to bury their dead


Baskets are the children of the gods and the basis of our earth, according to the ancient Mesopotamians. They believe that the world began when a wicker raft was placed on the oceans and soil was spread on the raft to make the landmasses. Ancient Egyptian bakers used baskets to hold baked loaves of bread.


The use of baskets is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Some examples include when Moses was floated down the river in a basket made of bulrushes and when Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the masses with a few loaves of bread and several fish, which were found in a young boy's basket. It is noted that 12 baskets filled with leftovers were gathered after everyone had eaten their fill.

Additionally, during archaeological digs, basket fragments, which date back some 12,000 years, were found in and around Egyptian and Neanderthal excavation sites.



Native Americans may well have left the greatest legacy to the world of baskets. The Indians of Arizona and New Mexico made basket-molded pottery from 5000 to 1000 B.C. as part of the earliest basket heritage. Their baskets (many of which have survived in gravesites) are heralded as a pure art form and one that was created not only by a primitive people but also by women. Basketry extended into the making of many other materials the Indians used daily including fishing nets, animal and fish snares, cooking utensils that were so finely woven that they were waterproof, ceremonial costumes and baskets, and even plaques. In the Northwest, the Tlingit and


made twined baskets from the most delicate of fibers. In the Southwest, the Hopi, Apache, and other Pueblo tribes made coiled baskets with bold decorations and geometric patterns of both dyed and natural fibers.





the late 1800s, the basketry of Native Americans became popular as decorative objects with the disadvantage that there were fewer Indian craftspeople remaining to meet the demand. In 1898, after the Spanish American War, the Philippines, which also had a strong basket-making tradition, were governed by the United States. Rural dwellers grew their own basket-making materials and manufactured baskets for sale in the cities. The mutual need for baskets in the United States and the strengthening of the economy of the Philippines caused schools with classes in basket weaving to be established.


The only books on the subject were about the baskets made by Native Americans, so the schools taught traditional Indian basketry to the Filipinos. Eventually, native Filipino weavers became the teachers as well, and both broad ranges of styles found a new homeland for manufacture and a ready market in the United States. The Philippine Islands remain a major basket-making center today. Basket weaving has never been found suitable to mechanization, but standardization of hand methods and concentrated production centers and facilities produce uniform, high-quality products.







were indeed used for everyday purposes, it is entirely possible that baskets were also used to hold gifts, in much the same manner as we use gift baskets today





Baskets are handy and easy to use, materials are varied and plentiful, and skilled artists are able to weave beautiful and stunning products into more styles and shapes than can be counted. The most important role baskets play in society, and why baskets have never gone out of style, is the reason they were created in the first place: baskets are necessities.





modern man has a wide variety of sophisticated means of carrying items from one location to the next and can create any type of storage unit desired, baskets remain popular. It's easy to understand why. Since their inception in society, baskets have been not only practical, fun, and diverse, but a tangible means of communication. Today, as in days gone by, a basket filled with flowers is still one of the nicest ways to say you care






unchanged for hundreds of years, the tools and equipment used for basket making are very basic. There is no automation and no machine tools are



a basic list of tools:



Work Board

to hold the basket at the correct angle for working

Small Hand knife

for sharpening stakes and trimming

Small Bodkin (bradawl)

for pegging the work to the work board

Medium Bodkin (bradawl)

for easing cane into position and for tapping down the rows of weaving to keep the work level



for cutting thick stakes or a number of stakes together

Round-nosed pliers

for kinking the stakes before bending them to make a border

Side Cutters

for cutting off the ends of cane


for measuring. A two-foot rule is the most convenient

Screw Block

for holding the stakes firm when making a rectangular base or lid


The Manufacturing Process



. The

process begins by choosing a design or standard pattern including shape and size. Materials are also gathered or purchased, and the necessary tools for working those materials are assembled. If the fibers are such that they need to be soaked, then soaking is done in advance of basket making, depending on the nature of the fiber. Fibers are also dyed in advance of weaving or coiling.

2. If

the design calls for a wood base, the base is shaped, and holes are bored in the wood to accommodate the spokes forming the sides of the





A basket is built from the ground up. Its base or bottom is made first. For a round basket with a flat bottom (as an example of any of hundreds of types of baskets that may be manufactured), the base is made by laying out a series of spokes that are stiff and work like rods to support more flexible woven material. Other rods called weavers are woven in and out among the spokes; the weavers are lighter, thinner, and more flexible, so that they can be woven and so they won't be strong enough to distort the spokes.


4. The

sides of this kind of basket can be formed in either of two ways. Initially, the spokes for the base can be cut to be long enough to form the sides as well. When the base is finished, the spokes are soaked to soften them, squeezed with pliers at the perimeter of the base, and then bent up to form the sides.


5. The sides are also formed by cutting side spokes and weaving them down through the base perimeter fibers and then up again so they form side spokes. Side spokes are essential if the base spokes are large. The sides are then woven with flexible weavers that are passed over and under the side spokes. Again, these weavers need to be smaller than the material forming the spokes so the spokes are not distorted. The side spokes are longer than the finished basket is tall; the remaining ends of the spokes are used to finish the top edge of the basket with a border. The spoke ends need to be soaked before the border can be made so the spokes can more easily be woven in and out of each other and the ends turned down into the basket sides.



The handle of the basket is chosen of the best available reed to be strong, durable, attractive, and relatively smooth to the touch so it can be held. The ends of the handle reeds are soaked in water and threaded down into the sides of the basket. The over-lap has to be long enough to prevent the handle from pulling out of the sides when the basket is filled and used.

7. If

the basket has a lid, the lid is made in the same manner as the base, but the rods and weavers should be of the same sizes as those in the sides of the basket to match the appearance of the basket.



Angling BasketsThese baskets were used by anglers carry the fish that they caught. The fish would be dropped through the gap in the lid of the basket. And a leather shoulder strap was attached through gaps in the sides for carrying it.


Back and Pony Creels of the Highlands and Islands

The creel Creel(Gaelic cliabh) is a general term covering several forms of Scottish (and Irish) baskets. In this section we are talking about back creels and pony creels, which are sometimes just referred to as 'creels'.


 Back Creel of the East Coast Fishwife

These back creels were used by fishwives to carry fish for sale. They were loaded with fish that the men had caught while line fishing, and the fishwives took them to sell inland and to places like Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, and other towns. They were similar in construction to the back creel used on crofts…


Bee Skeps



have been used across Scotland. They are made from coiled straw bound with what appears to be bramble.



On the west coast of Scotland muzzles woven from willow were put on calves to prevent them from suckling for a while.



The ciosan is a small, closely woven basket, formerly made on the Western Isles and along the west coast. It is a coiled basket made from sea-bent (marram grass), or sometimes straw. The coils are stitched together using twine made from rush, marram, even split willow or bramble, or bought twine.



These were small boats used on rivers and sometimes around the coast with a woven framework of willow and often hazel, covered in animal hide.


Cots and other homely things


section contains basketry items found around the



Cuddy or cubbie

A small basket called a cuddy in Shetland or a cubbie in Orkney used for holding bait. Made of heather, straw or dockens and sometimes with floss (soft rush), in a similar way to a kishie.


Curling Baskets

The sport of curling originated in Scotland and special baskets made in two halves and hinged were made to keep the curling stones in.


Egg baskets

Used for collecting eggs these baskets are generally round and have sides that curve outwards from the base before coming straight up.


Fishwives Murlins/Top Creels/Bow Creels/Arm Creels

These are baskets used by fishwives of the east coast along with their back creels or rips. They were used to display a sample of fish to customers and usually to store a board and knife for gutting the fish.


Fruit baskets 


baskets fit into more than one category of basketry. There were large stake and strand baskets used on fruit farms for measuring and transporting large quantities of fruit. There were also factory made lath fruit baskets, called 'chip' baskets or


. These were made using machine split wood that was woven and stapled together…


Grain Baskets and other sacks

More like sacks than baskets these grain baskets were used to carry grain to and from mills in the Western Isles. They were made from marram grass that was woven so tightly that it was almost waterproof.



Large rectangular baskets or hampers were used for a variety of purposes often for storage and in transportation. The post office used large baskets on wheels for parcels in their sorting office, other hampers with lids were used to transport linen from hotels to the laundry


Hen/Ose/ Skye basket

This basket was a form of frame basket made by weaving around several main hoops and added ribs. By Dawn Susan.


Horse Harnesses


one time horse harnesses were woven from willow or





This basket called a


in Shetland or a


in Orkney is used in a similar way that the back creel is used by crofters in the Highlands and Islands off the west coast of Scotland. Rather than woody material like willow however, in Shetland, these baskets were made of oat



Knitting Needle Baskets

Knitting Needle baskets were used to store needles and wool


Line Baskets

Line baskets were used by fishermen to keep lines, sometimes miles in length, with hooks attached to them which were baited ready for fishing. There was two types of line fishing, small line and great line and different styles of baskets were used for each.


Salt Baskets


These baskets were used in the salt production process in parts of Scotland. Containers of seawater were heated and the water boiled away leaving just a salt paste which was then put in the baskets for further purification and to dry out completely.


Shopping Baskets

Shopping baskets came in a variety of shapes and sizes




Plain Weave:


Most simple and most common type of construction Inexpensive to produce, durable, Flat, tight surface is conducive to printing and other finishes. The simplest of all patterns is the plain weave. Each weft yarn goes alternately over and under one warp yarn. Each warp yarn goes alternately over and under each weft yarn. Some examples of plain weave fabrics are crepe, taffeta, organdy and muslin. The plain weave may also have variations including the following:

Rib weave:

the filling yarns are larger in diameter than the warp yarns. A rib weave produces fabrics in which fewer yarns per square centimeter are visible on the surface.


Matt Weave or Basket weave:

here, two or more yarns are used in both the warp and filling direction. These groups of yarns are woven as one, producing a basket effect.



Method of Construction: Each filling yarn goes alternately under and over the warp yarnsHousehold Uses: Draperies, tablecloths, upholstery. Different types of Fabric Come under this Category; Chiffon: A very soft and filling plain woven Silk texture consisting of the Finest Singles which are hard twisted and woven in the gum condition. The cloth is afterward degummed. Georgette: A cotton Crepe fabric made in imitation of silk georgette, with hard twisted warp and weft yarn. A good Cloth is woven plain with right and left twist thread arranged in 2 and 2 order in warp and weft. Shantung: Coarse Silk fabric with Slubs. Mostly Tussah Silk but can be Polyester, nylon and viscose. Seersucker: It is created by holding some warp yarns at tight tension, some at slack tension. Those at Slack Tension puff up to form a sort of Blis-ter-effect, often slack and tight yarn of different colour. 


2.2 Basket Weave:



variation of the plain weave usually basket or checkerboard pattern Contrasting colors are often used Inexpensive, less durable than plain weave. Basket weave is the amplification in height and width of plain weave. Two or more yarns have to be lifted or lowered over or under two or more picks for each plain weave point. When the groups of yarns are equal, the basket weave is termed regular, otherwise it is termed irregular.




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