Our cats consider us “staff.” We made another basket. Yes, we take classes. I have my kids guess which of us made which basket. Hint: Colleen hates red. The shapes and sizes vary by the weaver. Ha ha! I think Colleen’s shape is better/nicer. For sure! After all that, Nutley hopped right in and went to sleep. Who’s basket is he in? Ha ha!
During covid I am down to two chief subjects, my cats and flowers. Boring is good. It means we are safe and sound. I have joined Colleen in obsessing over weather. I have four different weather apps open and one beach cam. And we cook and eat. …repeat. Colleen asked me to photograph her handicraft and mine. We completed these projects among others. Spinning fiber to yarn; weaving yarn to material, scarves; weaving Nantucket baskets. I’m not bragging; the girl’s got talent. Me? I’m better than I was but not as good as I’m gonna be.
I think each and every basket has a mistake. It goes with the territory. After you are done, there’s no back, of course. On this occasion I actually backtracked to the beginning. It was successful. Sometimes you gotta know when to give it up. Starting over is tedious and akin to a defeat. I hate losing. But who’s the loser? So, it was much better to start than to see this through to an unhappy end.
After my initial spate of baskets, no two have been alike. And the pattern I can create from color… it’s limited by the lack of color weaving cane. But pattern is precise and appealing. I’m much better with pattern than free form creation that drawing or painting requires. No one ever accused me of being subtle. Contrast, bold contrast, that appeals to me.
I’ve been doing (weaving) baskets for a bit more than a year. Yes, they call it “weaving.” And each and every teacher has said to me, “pack, your weaving needs to be tighter.” Ha! Working with a mold, my second try was tight. And my third was so tight I couldn’t get the mold off. It’s a struggle. Darn! I have to back off. Who knew I was tight? Better? I’m getting better. I suppose I should put in a word about keeping your sh*t together? Nah!?
We’ve been at this about a year. February 16, 2019, was the first basket class we ever took. A little more than a year later… we’ve come quite a long way. We’ve encountered three-four teachers. We learned a few tricks. And we can now make a Nantucket basket. It’s not so difficult as much as it is patience in learning the necessary technique. I have yet to make one of my own design. There are plans out there. I can be very happily occupied for a long while. Looking back we’ve come a long way. I would never have thought we’d weave something so intricate looking every bit as fine as I would admire in a craft store. Neat! … just a year. Oh my! PErfect? No. Happy? Priceless!
And… which one did I craft, which was Colleen’s?
We took a basket making class. Don’t ask. I used to joke about basket making as a throw away college course in which to get an easy “A.” Now I have nightmares about the final exam tomorrow in a college course in which I neglected to attend a single class. I’m retired! No classes! Ever! I cannot fail. And I will not take another final exam. Ever! As you can see our work was immediately appropriated and put to good comfort and use.
You may have guessed that I have a dim view of modern art. I don’t see the point in a mish mash of paint and call it abstract art. Or that all black panel where the artist advises: “should it ever need retouching, use ## black paint.” Oh! We were at a basket exhibition at the Biggs Museum. Non-traditional ones were also on display. How about a basket made of staples? Is it ‘the more outrageous’ that gets displayed? There was a screen vase made with woven spots. And the screen was flamed to leave flame marks. At least I can see that. The most fascinating thing was a take-off on the Perfect Storm – movie and book. That maelstrom at least made sense to me.