The basket weaving craft dates back to the early years of the Common Era. In fact, the basket was one of the primary agricultural tools of those times and its basic design has remained largely unchanged throughout history. A basket is typically a simple container which is made from a network of stiff fibers held together by a strong surface, such as rope, cords, staples, or wood strips. While most baskets created today are crafted from synthetic materials, many materials including animal hair, baleen, and metal wire have also been used.
Baskets are typically woven by hand by a experienced weaver. Historically, a basket was used as an utensil for carrying food, seeds, and other products from one location to another. Baskets today are used more as containers for decorative items in a home environment, rather than as a primary means of transportation. While most commonly constructed from inexpensive cotton, wicker, rayon, jute, or silk, some materials that are commonly used for basket weaving include hemp, rattan, and jute. Most commonly, a basket is used to hold flowers, fresh vegetables, cut fruits and nuts, meats, seafood, dairy products, and other foodstuffs. While there are many different types of baskets which can be traditionally constructed, a basic container is the basket we all know and love.
Historically, baskets were used to store linens, but the typical container which holds laundry, that is, a hanger-woven basket, developed during the Medieval Times. Through the ages, baskets have developed from simple containers into the elegant displays we use today. With baskets, there are no worries about food becoming misplaced, or about animals getting stuck inside the mesh. In addition, with a variety of materials available, the size, shape, and appearance of baskets has broadened. Today, even the humble laundry basket, which had originally been the primary container used to transport linen, has developed into a stylish display case.
Historically, a basket was not a basket, but a wooden box, sometimes referred to as a laundry basket. The origin of the name ‘laundry basket’ is somewhat unclear, but it most likely derives from the fact that baskets used to be used to carry dirty clothes. Another term for these wooden boxes, which were most likely basket-like in shape, was ‘tote,’ a French term meaning ‘tray.’ Towels would then be placed in the tote, and they were carried to the laundry for the person who would be using the basket.
Many European basket makers developed hand-made woven baskets, most likely of cloth of wheat or of reed. Woven baskets were usually hung by strings on windowsills. They were commonly used to store items, such as silks, which were too small to fit into ordinary kitchen drawers. In medieval times, these baskets were decorated with precious stones. These pre-modern woven baskets are among the most popular artifacts of the Medieval period. Many of the patterns available today are inspired by the baskets of medieval times.
There is a wealth of unique patterns available for woven baskets, many of which have been woven to reflect particular regions and periods of history. Basketry is now an extremely fashionable craft, enjoyed by women all over the world. Many different types of baskets can be made using fabric, with some types of baskets having elaborate designs and characteristic of their country of origin, while others have been inspired by specific cultures. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in interest in basketry, with many people collecting antique baskets for sale, while others continue to collect contemporary and novelty styled baskets as a way to decorate their homes.