I was at the Rustic Melon Basket workshop at the weekend. I have been a member of Basketmakers of Victoria (BOV) ever since we moved to Melbourne 6 years ago. I haven't been very active lately, but I have taken many great workshops with talented local basket makers and overseas visiting teachers. This weekend the workshop was with Pat Dale. Pat is an author of Basket & Weaving with natural materials (a copy can be obtained through BOV). This is my second workshop with Pat. There were 10 of us in the workshop and we had so much fun creating our piece of art work hoping to get it finished within 2 days...!
A close-up image of the weaving texture. Some stitches of indigo thread added afterward.
I got my frame up and started weaving with the rustic natural fibre and hand dyed indigo strings. The handle is from our grapevine coiled to achieve the circle for a frame. This is another structure of a melon basket. It's another piece to add to my blue and white studio.
The workshop was held in a stable at Wattle Park. The BOV is so lucky to have the use of the old stable. It's heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer so we can use it all the year round for workshops.
I had almost finished it when I left at the end of the workshop. My aim was to get it finished knowing that I won't have time to work at it after that. I'm pleased with how it turned out. The shape and the colour is what I was hoping for. You can see the whole of the handle on the photo below. It's the biggest basket I've ever made. I can see it standing on the studio floor filled with balls of string.
Full size basket: the width is 41 x 30cm and high from the tip of the handle is 61cm
Show and tell is always fun at the workshop. On my second day I took in the basket I made for a past exhibition. All exhibit pieces have to be for sale and I didn't want to sell this piece so I decided not to enter. I'm happy to still have it. It's my pride and joy to keep for my blue and white studio.
Sample of Pat Dale's baskets. Pat uses interesting natural branches for the handles of her baskets. Her designs are created by the shape of the handles.
Pat Dale is talking us through the process of basket construction. There were quite a few first time basket weavers on the day. It was quite daunting making a basket out of a pile of grapevines, sticks and leaves. It's an amazing process. By the end of the two days we achieved quite a lot and went home with our very own basket creation...!