A basket is traditionally constructed of stiff fibers such as reed, rattan, and jute. It can be made from a variety of materials including metal wire, horsehair, baleen, and even metal. The majority of baskets are woven by hand. Their shapes and materials vary greatly, but their purpose is the same: to transport items. A basket may be used as a storage container, a decorative piece, or for carrying objects such as newspapers.
Although baskets are mass-produced objects, the fibers used in making them vary widely. The type of wood used may depend on the available fibers. In New Hampshire, brown ash trees are called black ash. These trees grow in swampy areas and are particularly finicky. They produce soft, light-weight wood which is uniquely suited to basket making. However, commercial loggers usually do not take the time to separate the brown ash from other types of ash wood, so basket makers must seek out independent loggers to source these materials.
A basket may be large or small. It can be used for personal items, heavy produce, or laundry. A larger basket may be used for a heavy object like a cane. A smaller basket, or kishie, is used for smaller items. The larger baskets may be shaped to accommodate the spokes of a wheel, or shaped for an oval shape. As with any other kind of container, the size and weight of the basket can affect the shape and use of the finished product.
After the initial process of choosing a design, the next step is to gather the materials. Depending on your chosen materials, some fibers might need to be dyed or soaked before they can be woven. Once you have gathered the materials and assembled your tools, you can begin the process of creating the basket. After all, fibers are generally wet and may need to be dried. A wood base is typically shaped to accommodate the spokes.
Some baskets are woven from native grasses or twigs, while others are handmade. The process of making a basket begins with choosing the design, gathering materials, purchasing the tools, and assembling the tools. Initially, fibers may need to be soaked or dyed to make them more durable. Other materials, such as rattan, may be dyed to match a specific color or pattern. While the process of creating a basket can take a lot of time, the benefits of handmade goods are worth it.
To create a basket, you need to consider how it will be used. What would it be used for? What materials are the most functional? Which materials would you prefer? What are the materials you should avoid? How long will your basket be? What material and function will be the best for carrying items? The answer will depend on your design. If it’s a practical basket, it will fit most of your needs. A practical and beautiful one is made of natural materials.