Making a Basket

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It takes a special tree to make the perfect basket. A brown ash tree combines the strength, flexability and beauty that makes it the favored wood of master basketweavers.
After felling the tree, trimming the log and discarding the bark the pounding begins.This step can take days and is done to loosen the growth rings so they can be peeled back into strips called splints.
The splints have to be shaved to remove the fuzzy layer of cells between growth rings. Thicker splints can be split, revealing a satiny smooth finish. A cutting tool is used to rip the splints into strips of desired width for weavers and uprights.
The uprights are held in place with a press on a mold, a form for starting the basket. Weavers lock the uprights in place, forming the base, then are are woven to form the basket.
Photo by Jamie Cope.
The rims, ears and handles are steamed and carved from thicker strips of ash and gently bent to the correct shape. Then a lashing strip is used to bind them together into a solid, durable and beautiful work of craftmanship.
Photo by Jamie Cope.

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Irene M. Ames
474 Gore Road N.
Derby, Vt 05829

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