Weave a Basket out of Vines

How to make a random weave basket for beginners, including vine selection, directions, diagrams.

| August/September 1993

Click on the Image Gallery for Step-by-Step diagrams.
The woods have been one of my favorite places for as long as I can remember, and still I find the wonders of nature fascinating and never ending. While others collect jewelry artifacts and fancy glassware, I am always thrilled to bring home a discarded bird's or hornet's nest or beautiful vines with unusual twists and turns.

My second greatest passion is creating things with my hands. Each time I lay my eyes on a pleasing object, I feel compelled to make it into something—and something better, of course. One lifetime is not nearly enough for me to try everything with which I wish to experiment. For a while, clay was my favorite medium because it provided a legitimate excuse to play, get dirty, and basically make a giant mess. Creating a handsome and presentable object was icing on the cake.

But then I discovered basketry and got hooked after my first creation. As with pottery, you get to play and make a mess while beautiful objects emerge, but you don't have to wait around for the final result—there's no firing in the kiln, no breakage, and no uncertain glazing.

There was just one problem: the more involved in basketry I became, the more dissatisfied I was with the materials that I was purchasing. At first I had to rely on mail-order supplies, which meant I couldn't judge the quality of materials before making a purchase. So I was thrilled when I discovered I could make beautiful baskets from the treasures I found in the woods. Purchased wooden hoops could not compare with the magically twisted vine handles I unearthed in my explorations. My old love, a walk in the woods, was now, happily, a necessity.

One of the easiest ways for beginners to get involved with basketry is to try random weaving—a great, no-fail project. All you need are a bundle of long and flexible vines (I suggest honeysuckle), a pair of sturdy garden clippers, and some twist ties. You can use fresh vines or boil them first to remove the bark. Because you needn't worry about materials shrinking—tight weaving is not characteristic of this style—you can even gather and weave at the same time. The weaving technique consists simply of making a framework and filling in the spaces. For me, it's a quick, fun, and relaxing project to do at the day's end.

Directions for a Random-Weave Market Basket

1 . With one long, continuous piece of vine, form two large hoops at right angles to each other. The use of one vine takes advantage of the natural connection holding the hoops together (see Diagram 1).

9/14/2017 11:16:23 PM

The only type of vines I have access to at the moment are the vines from my pole beans. Would this work? I would like to use them for somethings since they didn't produce any beans. That was my fault though, as I over watered them.

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