For the last couple of days when not toiling in the garden or experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve been at a basket making course. It’s offered a few times a year and I’ve wanted to take it ever since I first moved here. With all five of my children off to school, I took the opportunity to get away.
This is Vincent, my instructor. He is extremely talented at both basket making and story telling. I would never grow tired of his tales about weaving with Native American, Amish, and Irish basket makers, or of the baskets he has both gifted and received. In fact, he generously made the basket carried by the flower girl in my wedding nearly twelve years ago. His workshop is like a museum, containing baskets full of history. He is a genuine artisan; very passionate, driven, never tires of speaking about his craft, filled with the desire to pass the skills on to others, dedicated to keeping the art alive. Something he mentioned casually that really stuck with me and increased my desire to become proficient is this– any basket you look at, hold, or utilise, you can be certain it was made by someone’s hands. Basket making is an art that cannot be mechanised. I liken this to crochet, one of the many reasons I love and appreciate it so dearly. Here is a short 3:41 video from youtube about Vincent:
I am looking forward to tomorrows class when we’ll be making a market/shopping basket. The tips of my fingers are a bit tender. I can really feel it as I type. Before I realized that what I was already harvesting and using around the garden was willow (the traditional island basket willow), my blogger friend Roz sent me some beautiful willow from her own gardens in the UK. At the time, the basket making course wasn’t even being offered yet, but the stars were aligning for me to become prepared. I’m so happy that I was unaware willow was readily available here or I would surely have declined her offer and missed out on some different and unique types. Funny how life works that way; it was meant to be mine!
Hope you are all having a week filled with wonder, possibly some new challenges of the delightful kind, and oodles, bushels, and pecks of sunshine. Melissa Xx