Saturday, April 10, 2010
Making Raffia Baskets
In answer to a question left about my baskets, yes they are made of raffia.
Periodically while searching through the Thrift shops, I come across raffia which I immediately snap up. I've even found what appears to be a man-made raffia that feels almost plastic-like. But since it comes in varying shades of brown, I'll assume it to be real.
So far I've made 3 different types of baskets but I've recently bought some baskets made by Al Chandronnait, IGMA artisan so am hoping to see how those were made and hopefully learn to make my own.
The pink and the brown baskets have what's known as God's Eye at either handle end. And despite what you may think, they aren't complicated to make.
Decide on the size you want. The pink and mauve basket is 1" tall x 3/4" wide while the brown and beige one is slightly bigger, at 1-1/4 x 1 inch.
Shape the wire frame like this:Now take a piece of raffia the color that you'd like your basket to be and weave it over and around each of the wires at handle junctions:You'll need to make the eye reasonably large because the ribs will fit in behind it.
It's sometimes easier to use thinner wire for the ribs....the finished basket will still look the same. Work both sides evenly and finish off the middle last using a large eyed needle.
This is a coiled basket that I adapted by simply using the same color raffia that I used to sew it together.
You can see that the bottom of my basket has a wire frame...this is not the norm for this type of basket.
Many Indians basket weavers were artists in the way they used colors and designs in their baskets. Each color shift necessitated a change of sewing material. Smaller coil sizes and stitches indicated the finely honed skills of its maker.
Basket weaving is easy and fun once you learn the basic techniques. However if you'd rather not, both God's Eye baskets are available in my Etsy Store.