Hobbies: Art Basketry For Beginners

Love beautiful baskets? The art of basket making is something that you can learn to do. There are a lot of resources to help you get started.

You see those gorgeous handmade baskets in shops and stores, but when you look at the price, you gasp. Not only is the basket you've been eyeing beautiful, but it is also pricey. You love the way baskets look and feel, and like to have them in your home for various purposes. So instead of buying one, why not experience the satisfaction of making your own basket?

Learning the art of basket making is not as hard as one might think. But what kind of baskets do you like? What style appeals to you? Baskets can be woven from willow, oak, cane, bamboo, sweet grass, pine needles, palm, bark and even with antlers. So the first step is to determine the kind of baskets you like. Perhaps the sturdy, hardwood baskets that are traditionally made in the New England area are your favorite. Maybe you favor the sleek look of coiled Native American baskets. Or even the English willow baskets. Finding out what kind of baskets you like will help you to know what kind of basket making technique or techniques you want to take the time to learn.

One of the best ways to learn to weave baskets is to take a class from your local university, or if you are lucky, your local basket making guild. Guild members often have shows to feature their work, so if you read about a local showing, it would probably be fun and instructive to attend. Another excellent way to learn is to purchase a kit for the kind of basket you want to make. The kits come with everything you need, along with detailed instructions and illustrations. Kits can be purchased online or locally, and they should be able to advise you on the best baskets for beginners. Most basket making sites also offer help for the beginning basket maker's questions. Other ways to learn about basket making is to read about it. There are plenty of good books on basket making and can be purchased at your local bookstore or online.

There are some basic tools that can help you get started. You will need a measuring tape, strong scissors, an awl, a sharp knife, clamps and a basic bucket to hold water, because when weaving baskets, the material needs to be soaked before working with it. These tools will get you started, and you will probably add others as you go along. The good news is that most tools needed for basket making are not expensive.

That isn't to say that you want inferior materials. When you use quality materials you get quality results, so don't skimp on quality. It will show in your basket. You want your basket to be something you can treasure and be proud of showing off. If you are going to use it for anything, if it is made with cheap materials, it will not last.

Most of all, once you start weaving, enjoy it. Don't worry about the end result. Enjoy the experience as well as the finished product. Don't get frustrated. Your first basket may not be as perfect as you would like it to be, but it does not matter. The more you practice, the better you will be. Most basket makers say that basket making is addictive. So be prepared to love it.

In time, you will be able to turn out that elegant French bread basket, or that homey hearth basket, or darling Easter baskets for your children. Not only will they cost you less than the ones you admired previously, you have the deep satisfaction of knowing you made them yourself.

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