Introduction to Willow Basket Weaving

8 lessons, 2 hours

A complete demonstration of a classic willow basket, teaching the most basic and elementary willow weaving techniques

Each lesson focuses on one part of the basket or one specific technique, which makes things much clearer and easier to follow, whether you are a complete beginner, or you already made your first steps in the world of basketry.

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In this first lesson we will learn the most commonly used technique for weaving round bases, called pairing. This is a very important, rudimentary weave, often taught as the first weave by many basketry teachers. Not only is it the basis for other types and variations of pairing, it is also the basis for all types of waling - which we are going to learn next.


Between weaving the base and weaving the sides, we need to add uprights to our basket. In this lesson we will learn how to add uprights in a very classic and traditional way. There is a lot more theory and different methods to this part, which we will learn in depth in a future course.


The upsett is the part of weaving the lower band using waling. This is a crucial part in the making of the basket, in which we must pay close attention to the shaping process. Both the angle of the basket and the alignment of the stakes are permanently determined in this stage. For complete beginners, this part might be very difficult.


French randing is a highly efficient technique that covers a lot of space quickly, with minimum use of material. Most of the siding of a basket will usually be woven in this technique. It is a brilliant development of the plain randing weave, which uses multiple weavers at once, to give a clean, uniform look, while, at the same time, eliminating the need of joins.


This type of waling band can be an ideal divider between randing sections, and is also very useful in other situations. Though a classic "starting from tip - waling band" can be used in between sections as well, I have found it important to also teach this type of band in this course, as it adds a strong tool to our arsenal, and will be of great use to us.


Now that we've learned basic waling bands and the French randing technique, we have only to continue weaving the basket and practice all of that knowledge. Remember to pay attention to the shaping, and take action to correct any anomalies along the way.


The type of border we are going to learn here is called a rod border. This is the most commonly used type of border in willow weaving, as it is strong, simple and quick. To make things as clear as possible, I've chosen to teach a type of three-rod border, which shares a great deal of similarity with the three-rod wale that we used throughout our basket.


To me, this would be the simplest, most basic form of making a handle from willow. Other types of handles that have a handle bow are virtually the same, except from the way they're finished. Preparing handle weavers in advance is not always necessary, since many times the leftover cuts from making the border may be just right for this job. If they're not, it's not a problem. The handle can also be woven after the basket had dried.

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