A few months ago I won a giveaway and received a hand woven basket in the mail. I have been using it to hold apples and fruit on my table. It is a beautiful, one of a kind work of art. All I knew about the basket when I entered the contest was that it had been hand made by a lady at Tangled Basket Farm. Today, as part of the #30DaysofHobbies series, I get to feature Kateri who is the creator and artist behind these baskets.
Each of my baskets begins in nature—in the woods, in the garden, in the marsh. They are woven from reeds, vines, willows, and other plants that I harvest from the wild or that I grow in my garden. I also hand card and spin wool and other natural fiber and use that in my baskets as well.
Basket Weaving Begins in Nature
A friend taught my family how to make a simple basket as part of a homeschool project when I was nine years old and I have been weaving ever since. As a teenager and young adult on our little family homestead in upstate NY, I spent a lot of time of time in the woods, collecting vines and other materials and weaving them into baskets. My baskets are both functional and beautiful. On the homestead there wasn’t much room for superficial things. We used my baskets every day in the kitchen and the garden. I also made them to sell.
Fast forward 15 years. I now balance a busy job as a home care nurse with taking care of the little farm that my husband and I bought in 2009 in southern Michigan. I planted English basket willow the first spring after we move to the farm and started weaving baskets again more seriously about a year ago. I weave mostly because I enjoy it, but it is something that I hope that one day will bring in at least a portion of our income.
I opened an Etsy shop last fall. Besides my hand woven basket, we also grow organic heirloom garlic on our farm that I also sell in the Etsy shop.
The beauty of this hobby it that it really doesn’t cost anything as long as you have access to nature. Baskets can be woven from vines, pine needles, cattails, iris leaves, willows, horse hair, seaweed, birch twigs, certain kinds of bark. The list can go on and one. The one essential tool is a good pair of pruners. A strong pair of hands is also important! I own two pairs of Felco Pruners.
For a beginner I would recommend taking class to get you familiar with weaving. I personally have a hard time learning technique from a book; however I do find it helpful to read books on natural basket weaving to get ideas, and for beginners books can help you get acquainted with the many different materials and basket styles out there. A book I can recommend is Natural Baskets: Create Over 20 Unique Baskets with Materials Gathered in Gardens, Fields, and Woods.
Connect with Tangled Basket Farms
Kateri is a registered nurse, basket weaver, and nature photographer. She lives with her husband on a 13 acre organic farm in southern Michigan. A set of triplet miniature goats and a small flock of free range hens provide constant entertainment and company.
Have you ever tried basket weaving? Got any stories or experiences? Which of these baskets is your favorite? I’d love to hear!