8 baskets in one day

Denise image Rosemarysimage image Swapnas Mary   Allison

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.

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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…

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Here’s a list of the materials we used, collected with minimum (and some positive) impact on the environment:

Reedmace leaves, marram grass, lyme grass, soft rush, jointed rush, birch twigs, sycamore leaf-stalks, rhododendron twigs and leaves, blackthorn twigs (thorns removed!), beach-combed ships’ ropes, linen thread, bakers’ twine, beeswax.

Learn and teach

Today I travelled to Falkirk with Caren Gilbert to contribute to an International Women’s Day Celebration sponsored by Central Scotland African Union.

It was a very pleasant afternoon. We learned about the beautiful African textiles on display round the hall, sang together, watched a demonstration of classical dance from Northern India, did some dancing ourselves (feeling a bit clunky dressed in trousers and boots) and were treated to a fab lunch of African food.

After lunch there were crafts tasters and creative writing on offer and I showed my group the method I’ve been using to make stitched baskets, using assorted bendy twigs and fibres. I think everyone enjoyed the process. We heard the silence of deep concentration anyway!

Stitch basket 1

Stitch basket 2

Stitch basket 3

Thanks Meg for the invitation to take part and thanks Caren for suggesting me to Meg.