I loved school! I love to learn. I learn from the things I see and hear and do. A trip to a thrift or antique shop offers many things to learn from. My favorites are of course baskets, large and small, beginner or expertly made, there is something to be learned from each one. Most baskets had a purpose or use in mind when the weaver began. Some needed laundry or storage baskets, others needed a place for keepsakes. Whatever the reason, a person or two worked to gather locally available materials for their task.
In Maine it was brown or black ash trees and maybe sea grass or sweet grass. Thought and preparations went into basket making. Grasses were gathered in summer or early fall. Trees too have a season for splitting and preparing. Winter was a good time to weave. But as I saw as a child, I saw older women teaching very young ones to weave after harvesting grasses, while summer folks were in the area to purchase these freshly made gems.
People learn in a variety of ways. Books offer anyone anywhere the opportunity to study and reproduce the skills taught within it’s pages. I have difficulty learning without seeing the steps in person or photos. Classes are a fine way to see ” hands on techniques” and small details that text may miss or not explain. I took my first basket class in the spring of 2001 and I was not the best student but I was persistent. I loved the feel of the materials, ( if not the mess it made) and the ability to make a basket in under 1 hour. No long commitment for me. Since then I have made and sold tens of thousands of baskets and I am still learning. Easier, faster, simpler ways to work my trade. But most important is that I still love the process and I am not limited by harvesting local materials, (I get mine from the UPS man and reed importer). And I still teach or share this process with people as often as I can. So whether you have a basket kit or class or video you too can learn and enjoy the experience of basket weaving.