Fibre, textile, weaving, and stitching I strongly believe they are entwined. If you like one thing you like them all. Ask any textile lover if they like baskets and most of the answers will be 'yes'. I have a deep love for basket weaving because my mother was a basket weaver. Unlike today where basket weaving is a hobby or art, in my mother's generation weaving baskets was a necessity. She wove them for household use. Also bamboo was readily available and not to be wasted. She would cut, split and shave bamboo from the beginning to the end. I was very young, but I still remember her soaking long strips of shaved bamboo in the river in front of our home. She made many types of baskets, from containers for storing rice to tiny scoops. I remember she hung them above the open fire wood cooker to catch the smoke. It's supposed to seal and protect the bamboo from bugs.
I started weaving baskets when I first came to live in Victoria, Australia. I had just arrived and didn't work at the time. I was an avid golfer (still love golf, but only on sand). I went to play golf with a friend I met at a car park. Yes I pick up friends from all kinds of places. After the game I was driving out of the golf court when I spotted a sign saying Basketmakers of Victoria. I reversed back and reread it a second time. Yes Basketmakers of Victoria. I went in and a basket making session was on. It was raining and I was covered in mud from the game. I asked them excitedly if I could come along. There were very nice and said yes, but still looking at my dirty boots! For the next 3 years I took every workshop they offered. I loved it so much that I started planting plants I could use in basket weaving. I dyed the plant fibres and had baskets in exhibitions. I mainly make utility baskets. My friends around the world received baskets from me in those few years.
Basket made from recycled materials must be one of my favourite types. Really, basket weaving is a way of recycling what you grow in your garden. The above basket is called basket over a mould. You weave it over a shape made from Styrofoam. I found the strips from the Hanban book publisher in China that were used on book boxes. There was a big pile of them at my work. I found them just in time because an hour later they would have been thrown in the trash! I used red hot poker leaves for weaving. Some of the leaves had been dyed. Dyed sea grass is also used on this basket. After I completed the basket, I added a boro piece of indigo that I just received from Japan. I called this basket boro basket and it measures L-16", H-8" and W-9". It's a Christmas present for a dear friend.
I always tell myself not to have a favourite either in colour or flowers or anything. I like to keep open minded and like everything. Does anyone feel like that? It's strange I know, but that's just me! I do like Wisteria and I like it a lot. I first saw them in Crete. I was on a bus travelling across the island. I saw these beautiful blue flowers draping over an old barn with a red tiled roof. The vine didn't have leaves on it , just the blue flowers. After that moment I was drawn to everything blue. Flowers, cloth and anything that's blue.
Wisteria flowers as you know only last less than a week after it blooms, but to me it is worth it just to enjoy what you love in your garden. This year it surprised me when they bloomed. It started blooming while I was at work one day when I got home bang it hit me. It almost knocked me over with its beauty! If I'm lucky it might last until the weekend.
I would have to say that blue is my favourite colour and Wisteria is my favourite flower! I am still open minded about all the other colours and flowers too. But they will have to try hard to be another one of my favourites!