History of Basketry
A basket is an open-air container that can be constructed from a number of materials, such as wood, bamboo, runners, wicker, cane, and grass. While most baskets manufactured today are made of synthetic materials like plastic, metal, or wood, other natural materials like horsehair, bamboo, or even metal wire can also be utilized. Baskets are usually woven manually. Historically, baskets were used to transport produce in Asia, but the process has now been developed to make baskets available to consumers throughout the world. Many modern baskets have been custom-designed for specific purposes, as well.
The primary material from which most baskets are crafted is typically cloth, but there are also various synthetic fibers used in manufacturing woven baskets. Among the most commonly used fabrics are nylon, silk, rayon, cotton, jute, flax, and hemp. Bamboo and grass are also common fabric types for basketweaving, because they are lightweight, water-resistant, and strong enough to support the weight of many small items. Runners are also common in woven baskets. These are woven ropes that are tied tightly to both the bottom and the sides of a basket to prevent spillage or unraveling.
Before a basket can be successfully woven, it must be carefully prepared. Any seams or holes must be covered with a lining, to avoid damaging the fibers while they are being woven. After the basket has been created, a number of procedures must be carried out in order to complete the task. First, the basket may need to be washed. This is often done using a garden hose; however, handwashing can sometimes increase the quality of the finished basket. The second procedure required in basket making is called “kitting”.
Kitting involves carefully removing any loose fibers or materials from the basket. After kitting, the baskets need to be dried. For this purpose, either sunlight or a fan-driven dryer is used; however, no direct sunlight is needed. Special baskets made especially for drying baskets are available in some stores. After the baskets have been thoroughly dried, they may need to undergo another process known as “bondaging”.
Bondage involves putting the basket on a frame. Special frames are available, but other methods of mounting the basket on a frame are also possible. After the frame has been mounted, the edges of the basket are sewed. In basket-making terminology, bonded edges mean those that have been stitched closely, while those that are not bonded are referred to as “raw edges”. After the raw edges have been finished, the fiber that makes up the basket will be carefully reinforced, and the basket will be ready for displaying or gifting.
Basketry is one of the oldest crafts in human history. It originated in southern Asia and Africa more than 6000 years ago. Although there are many similarities between basketry and other crafts, the creation of baskets varies widely among different cultures, including China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Peru and Tibet. Today, baskets play an important role in the lives of millions of people and are enjoyed both as functional and decorative pieces of art.