Wicker Baskets - Designing your own Custom Made Baskets
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Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2007
by Alison Bauzys
Hastingwood Basket Works
Many of us have storage units which are crying out for a set of wicker baskets to keep toys, magazines, etc. tidy. When we can't find baskets of the right size in the shops the logical next step is to have them made by a basket maker to fit exactly. If you are looking to do that, then here are some tips on how to design your perfect wicker baskets.
2 Make sure you tell your basket maker that the measurements you have given are for the space available. They will then reduce those sizes appropriately so that the baskets fit comfortably.
3 Let them know whether the baskets are sitting side-by-side on the shelf, or if they have their own space.
4 Working Baskets. Willow is available in different forms. With the bark on it is known as green or brown. Green or brown can be boiled for a couple of hours to create 'steamed' willow, which is a very dark brown colour, almost black. These types of willow have lovely textures and give colour to baskets, but they are not as strong as willow that is boiled and stripped of its' bark. This is know as 'buff' willow, and is the willow used for picnic hampers, for example. If your baskets are going to be working baskets, then make sure they are made primarily from the stripped willow. Green, brown or steamed willow can be combined with the buff to give colour, but is best not used entirely for the basket, as when it dries, the rods will shrink more than buff willow and therefore can become loose.
5 Baskets for decoration only. When your basket is purely for decoration, then using stripped, buff willow becomes less important. Here you are entirely concerned with the overall look of your basket.
6 Weave. There are many styles of weave. Some will give you a chunky, rustic feel to the basket and some will give a more elegant, fine finish to your baskets. Decide which style will look best in your environment and discuss the options with your basket maker.
7 Space available. If you are filling a relatively small space, narrow perhaps, then you will want to optimise the internal space of the basket, by opting for what is known as a track border. Standard borders can be up to 2cm wide and therefore reduce the actual size of the basket where your external space is restricted. Track borders also give the baskets a finer look than standard borders.
8 Finger Holes / Handles? Do you need finger holes or handles on your basket? If your baskets are fitting snugly in a unit then you will need some kind of handle or finger hole so that you can get the basket out of its' space. Also if the basket is relatively large and is going to be carrying heavy weights you will need handles or finger holes to help you carry the basket. On small baskets where access is not restricted, you probably don't need anything, as you can just pull out the basket using the top border and hold it underneath. Talk to your basket maker as to what type of handle is most appropriate for your basket.
9 Craftsmanship. Every basket you see has been made by someone. Basket making is not something that can be done by a machine, so quality can vary considerably. Quality of willow and quality of craftsmanship, so check out both thoroughly before choosing your basket maker. The Basket Makers Association has a trade directory of professional makers and is available from their website http://www.basketassoc.org/. You can also find more information at http://www.hastingwoodbasketworks.com/
This Article has been viewed 6,376 times. (Not updated in real-time.)Top-level comments on this article: (1 total)
» left by Rae Lynn Yates from Peoria IL 1 year 212 days ago.
I am looking for an article to help me to learn to make baskets. I am getting older and feel this would help to keep the artritus at bay. But thank you.