Basket Weaving

Ever since time immemorial, basket weaving has been embedded with fine embroidery art. In the early decades, basket weaving was essential, where women weaved baskets to carry around goods as a necessity. Before the industrial revolution, basket weaving was more of a necessity as it is a form of art in today’s world. Baskets were used in the day to day activities of people, from barnyard life, to hunting and gathering practices not to mention storage of food and nuts over a long period of time. In the ancient days, basket weaving depended on the end use. There were some baskets that were actually woven so tightly in order to store honey and liquids.  

Before we go any further, we need to define basket weaving. This is the act of using natural fibers and plant materials to create baskets. The type of natural plants and fibers that were used in the making of these baskets solely depended on the need for the basket as well as the people’s culture and environment.  For instance, a basket that will be used to carry a baby will be different to that one used in the barnyard to collect eggs.

In regards to environment, people who lived near the sea would create baskets ideal for their fishing expeditions and from fibers that would be water friendly. Most baskets were not disposed off once used but were rather adaptable and flexible. This simply meant that once a basket designed to carry a baby is out of use, it could be used in the kitchen to carry and store fruit.

Where does art come in? A new basket was woven for two reasons, the end use and latest embroidery. The craft of weaving different patterns into the basket was passed from one generation to the other. It also differed vastly from one culture to the other and sometimes after intermarriage the different woven techniques would be merged. The baskets were very ideal and essential in barter trade, the prettier and stronger it looked, the greater the value.

The weavers were quiet creative and would use different fibers from different plants to create marvelous patterns on the baskets. The use of animal hair hides, skin, grass and wood were just but a few of the pieces embedded in these baskets.

As people evolved, the need of basket weaving dissolved into artistic and not necessarily for day to day activities as it was used in the ancient days. Art in basket weaving has now taken up a more artistic turn; artists are weaving baskets more out of creativity than need.

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