SisterlyLv's Basket Showcase & More
Question: How did you get into this type of crafting? I had to ask because as you can see from the pictures this is no ordinary crafting project - something I can only dream of doing. This is the type of craft that truly takes not just talent but a whole lot of patients and apprication for the beauty of Mother Natures earthly beauty "grass" and not just any grass either. Do read this and fall in love with this wonderful artist of the heart and soul that I am lucky and honored to call "FRIEND".
Now lets see if I can tell you what you want.
I started making pine needle baskets in Jan. of 2009 at a class in
Zephyrhills Florida. We had four lessons and then joined a basket group
where we just went weekly when we wanted to go and had group support and
worked on our baskets and got group support and help when needed.
I have always had a love for arts and detail. I have done many things
in the past from ceramics, cake decorating, machine knitting, machine
embroidery, and sewing, but nothing has filled my need more than basket
coiling. I feel like I can let my creative talents flow more than ever before
. I also just kind of go with the flow and a basket for me is always work in
progress. I have ideas in the beginning of what I want to do, but the basket
kind of takes it's own form as I make it.
Coiled baskets go way back in history and they say will last for hundreds
of years if taken care of.
I use mainly Florida long leaf pine needles, Sweetgrass , and will try
other grasses and natural items that I think will work, or have been
told do work. Like Cat tails.
The Native Americans use to bind their baskets with sinew, which was
the tendons from a Deer's leg. I use artificial sinew which is man made.
I also use waxed linen. Some use raffia or palm's but I find it can be
brittle and not as strong as the waxed linen or artificial sinew. When
I make a basket with a handle in it I also put wire in the beginning coil
of the handle to give it some extra support.
I do not apply any stabilizers to my baskets, such as varnish, bees
wax, as it does not need it. When my baskets are made they are done with
dried materials not soaked and they are nice and tight and firm when
finished. I prefer to leave them natural and to have the natural smells that
God intended them to have.
The pine needles are gathered generally in the fall as they fall freshly
from the trees. They are picked as you would a bunch of your favorite
flowers. You check each needle to make sure it has no twists or breaks
in it and if it does it is discarded. Once collected rubber bands are applied
to the end of the bunch and they are wrapped in newspaper and put away
in a dry place for future use. Once dried they are like a piece of wood
and will last for years if taken care of.
Most of the colors in my baskets are created by using colored threads
that are wrapped around the coil tightly so you see only the color and
not the needles. I do use some dyed needles but prefer the wrapped method.
The dye used to color the needles is Rit dye and it is poisonous and
if the basket is going to be used for food I am not comfortable with that.
Even though the needles are rinsed and treated to get all the excess dye
out I do not care to take a chance.
To start a basket you have to have a base that has holes in it to start
stitching the coil around. From the beginning of the basket to the top
of it a basket is one continuous coil. I use a brass 3/16 feral for a
gage for most of my baskets but sometimes larger. Other people use soda
straws of various sized. I just keep it packed all the time and move the
feral up on the coil as I go. Some of my bases are wood with holed drilled
in them. I prefer solid hardwood. I also use other items that I cast in a
clear coat resin and drill the holes in it after it hardens.
I also embellish the baskets with other things to give it shape, design
and or color.
My baskets are a lot of work and an average sized one will take about
20 hours of work to create. But once made I know will last a life time or
more. I do have one that I got a Grand Champion on at the County Fair
Florida that took me about 80 hours to do. But when they are done I am proud
of what I have created.
I just feel that God has given me a gift and I want to share it with others.
SisterlyLv Pam Caskey
A NH Native now a full time RV person
touring and searching our wonderful country to find
a place to call home once again someday. Hopefully where it
is warm in the winter.