The body of this wee basket is stitched with blaeberry & strawberry-dyed thread (the berries that were on their way to the compost bin a few weeks ago):
I finished off the top with raspberry. We’ll see if it keeps its colour. Here you can see the difference in colour between the ‘strawblaeberry’ thread in the base of the basket and the raspberry thread on the right:
The basket smells great – imagine ripe soft fruits, warm summer meadows and a hint of honey!
On Monday this week, eight members of the Forth team from Scottish Natural Heritage joined me at The Steeple for a creative away-day. They swapped keyboards and screens for plants and beeswax, linen thread and needles and each went home with a unique stitched basket.
My heap of basket-making materials was supplemented by armfuls of useful bendy plants, harvested specially by SNH staff at Tentsmuir. I explained how these could be used, demonstrated the first stage of fiddly needle and thread work and the group got started. They picked up the process quickly, and we could see early on that there were going to be eight very different baskets.
I was very impressed with everyone’s willingness to experiment and improvise. By the afternoon there was a fine mess on the tables too, always a good sign. Here are the lovely finished baskets and their makers…
Here’s a list of the materials we used, collected with minimum (and some positive) impact on the environment:
Heather plants a few years old are like small trees. They have tough gnarly trunks which divide into springy twigs and tiny leaves. I’ve read that in the Hebrides they made rope from heather. They must have had great patience, and big hands.