I have always loved baskets - baskets of all different kinds. While most baskets have long been made from strong, fibrous materials, such as wood splints, runners, and cane, other materials such as horsehair, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are generally woven by hand - some fitted with a lid, others are left open. Over the years, I've collected a number of them from auctions and tag sales, or from the talented basket-making artisans themselves.
When I moved to my Bedford, New York farm, I built a small structure to house my basket collection. Every so often, I try to have everything dusted and cleaned, so these beautifully hand-made containers remain in good condition.
Here are some photos - enjoy.
This is the little house where I store my basket collection. It is located near my grove of bald cypress trees across from my clematis pergola.
Inside, I have many, many baskets – some I’ve purchased at tag sales, or from basket weavers. A good number of these baskets were used during my catering days.
The first step was to remove the baskets, and place them outside on the dry grass. The oldest known baskets have been carbon dated to between 10-thousand and 12-thousand years old.
Baskets were needed as containers for everything imaginable – food, clothing, storage and transport. Fruit, nuts, seeds and dried meets were often collected and stored in these hand-made containers.
Basket weaving is the process of weaving or sewing pliable materials into two or three dimensional objects – anything that will bend and form a shape can be made into basket.
Early basketmakers selected materials from nature, such as stems, animal hair, hide, grasses, thread, wood, and pinstraw.
Carlos dusted out each basket with a cloth.
A soft brush can also be used to remove dust and debris from the weave.
Many of the baskets had cobwebs.
Never immerse a basket in water – this risks removing some of the patina. Soaking a basket can also result in swelling and popping of the weave.
If a deeper cleaning is needed, use a damp, soft cotton cloth and gently blot the basket weave, then let the basket dry completely.
This large cylindrical basket may have once been used to store wood by the hearth.
Here is a charming picnic basket or hamper.
Here is a row of picnic baskets. During the earliest days of my “Living” television show, we would pack light meals in picnic baskets for my on-air guests that came to town.
Once all the baskets were wiped and cleaned, Carlos gave the basket house a thorough mopping.
The floors were filled with dust, cobwebs, and light dirt tracked in whenever a basket was retrieved or returned.
Carlos wiped the surfaces in stages – cleaning a section and then returning some baskets before cleaning another area.
Carlos used a damp towel on the end of a sturdy brush broom, to wipe down the floors.
After a few minutes, the floors looked pristine.
One by one, Carlos returned the baskets – the less he had to stack, the better.
Bigger baskets were returned to the middle of the floor. Some of these are quite heavy.
Baskets vary not only across geographies and cultures, but also within the regions in which they are made.
Baskets are made using different techniques, such as “plaiting”, which
uses materials that are wide and braid like,”twining”, which
uses materials from roots and tree bark. Twining refers to a weaving technique where two or more flexible elements cross each other as they weave through the stiffer spokes.”Wicker” basketry
uses reed, cane, willow, oak. “Coiled” basketry
uses grasses and rushes.
Here are a few gathering baskets.
Early civilizations also used baskets for bartering, which played a key role in the development of trade-based economies. Because of the care and craft that went into basket-making, when people traded goods with one another, they also traded knowledge as well as pieces of culture and art.
Baskets are now lined up neatly on the shelves with very little stacking.
It can be a time consuming chore, but the basket house is looking very nice.
This was a very good accomplishment and I feel really great about my organized little basket storage space.
All my baskets are now tucked away neatly in their shelter – safe and dry from all the elements.