Bike baskets

willow bike baskets

willow bike baskets

Katherine made these bike baskets for  this classic Sears bike back in November. These were made for our friend Eddie Gordon who wanted the orange stripe to match an orange stripe decal on the bike. These were the second pair of square pannier style bike baskets that Katherine has made. She had made a pair previously for her own bike. The baskets are fairly large at about 14 inches long by 10 inches wide at the top border by 12 inches deep. They taper to a base at 11 inches by 7 inches. The inside dimensions are 13″ x 9″ tapering to 10″ x 6″. (The square shape is essential for a six pack!) They have a heavy wire woven in to the basket near the top. There are loops formed from the wire that hang over the rear rack. The baskets can be easily removed by just lifting them up.

outside view of wire loops

outside view of wire loops

inside view of wire hanger

inside view of wire hanger

You can see examples of front handle baskets that Katherine weaves and sells in this post.

Katherine's bike baskets

Katherine’s bike baskets

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Le coeur a fromage

Le coeur a fromage

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! I had to post this photo of a “coeur a fromage” that Katherine made from our red willow and some buff willow. This basket is a traditional French form – a cheese tray in a heart shape. The basket is about 13 inches wide by 12 inches long. You could call it a cheesy valentine if it wasn’t such an exquistite basket.

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Skib for Groundhog Day

skib12skib22

skib32skib42

Greetings from the Skagit Valley on Groundhog Day. Or is it Candelmas? Or a celebration of the Irish Goddess Brigit? Or Saint Brigit? It is certainly a point in the year when we are thinking about the coming of Spring. Indeed the willow is beginning to swell its buds. Some of the earlier varieties are even showing their first catkins. I thought I would upload these photos Katherine took of a potato basket, or skib, being made. She took a series of step by step photos to use as a handout for an upcoming basketry class. An Irish basket seems appropriate to the day (since I don’t have any “Brigit’s crosses” to show – Update: we do have a Brigid’s cross post now). There are good photos and descriptions of skibs in the Irish basketmaker Joe Hogan’s book “Basketmaking in Ireland”.

potato basket

potato basket

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Oyster basket

Replica (on left) of traditional French oyster basket

Replica (on left) of traditional French oyster basket

Two willow baskets for packing oysters. The basket on the right belongs to Jon Rowley of Seattle who picked it up from a basketmaker in France back in the 70’s. Jon came by Dunbar Gardens after seeing my photos of Katherine’s baskets on Flickr.com. He brought his oyster basket along and left it with Katherine to check out. Jon works with Taylor Shellfish here in the Puget Sound region and has a vast knowledge and appreciation for oysters.

The basket is a traditional form used to pack oysters to market (baskets were then returned stacked in each other). Katherine  made the basket on the left as a copy. (Not bad for a first go!) She admires the efficient design of the original – a stake on each side becomes the handle, the border narrow on the back, the hinges made from one piece, the slewed base, and no waling which makes the shaping and corners more of a challenge. She did find a short description of a similar basket in “La Vannerie – l’osier” which is a French basketmaking manual. We have put Katherine’s version to use as a kitchen potato storage basket

basketmaker's perspective

basketmaker's perspective

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