Baskets and Dye Pots

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Uncategorized

wine bottle basket


This summer we’ve been expanding our horizons.  First we explored the ancient and very useful art of basket weaving.  Basket making was practiced in neolithic times before the invention of pottery (let alone glass liquor bottles).  Baskets were light, portable carrying devices well suited to the nomadic life of neolithic hunter gatherers.  They could be created from any fibrous or pliable material found along the way.

Over time as prosperity allowed the basket makers began to embellish their creations in their own style so that today many baskets are intricate works of art that tell stories about heritage and ethnic traditiions.

building a basket

Luckily we didn’t have to strip bark, wade into the marsh to find reeds or rip down vines to find basket making materials.  Today you can purchase an assortment of materials.  So our novice basket weavers had a head start when they took the basket making workshop.  They even had some modern tools in the form of clamps.

finishing the rim

the finished product


Every summer guild members take advantage of the weather to explore the world of dyes.  Dyeing is often a messy process that can leave lasting impressions on indoor spaces but a garden hose can return a patch of grass back to its original colour with a minimum of fuss.  For this year’s “dye day” the group decided to explore indigo.  Members were encouraged to bring samples of waffle weave that they had woven as a studio project.

indigo dyed cloth

 Plants in the genus indigofera are the most common source for the natural form.  Indigo exists as a precursor in plant material and must be extracted, fermented and finally oxidized to give the distinct “jeans” blue colour.  Lucky for us the dye is available in a synthetic form as well.

Indigo is often used with “resists” to create patterns.  A “resist” is anything applied to the cloth to prevent the dye from penetrating.  It can include folding, scrunching and stitching cloth or using a solid resist such as clothes pegs or clamps. 

indigo with physical resists

woven shibori with stitching.

Guild members are continuing to enjoy the summer break.  We’ve been out an about with our tent spinning wheels and portable looms so you might see us at a community event.  Our regular meetings will resume in September when we will be gearing up for our annual sale ELEGANT THREADS.  

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