Weaving Baskets, Backpacks, Boxes and Other Projects contains detailed instructions for weaving ten different styles of baskets using diagonal weaving techniques. More than seventy different weaving techniques and tips are described in the book, with step-by-step written instructions. Each project includes ideas for different ways to adapt or use the basket woven in the project. The styles of baskets include traditional and modern designs and are woven with New Zealand flax, although other natural or manufactured materials can be used.
The book covers a wide range of basket-making, from simple to complicated baskets, and can be used by both beginning and experienced weavers. As such it is a useful resource book for any weaver, groups of weavers or learning institutions.
The projects start with smaller, basic baskets, giving the new weaver a chance to learn the basic steps for diagonal weaving and finishing techniques that are used throughout the book. The step-by-step instructions are accompanied by illustrations using two colours for greater understanding of the step being illustrated. If a technique has been used in a previous project, then a reference is given back to the instructions.
The second half of the book has instructions for more complicated weaving projects for which a good, broad knowledge of basic weaving techniques is required. These include instructions for weaving baskets woven by plaiting strips together at the beginning, which allows for larger baskets to be made, and for baskets with coloured patterns, kete whakairo, to be woven, and instructions for weaving backpacks, pīkau, with plaited straps that are part of the weaving. There are also instructions on making and attaching handles.
As well as baskets, the book includes instructions for weaving boxes, platters and trays. Another project shows how to weave vases and pots, which can be used to hold flowers woven with flax. Although these items are not baskets in the strict sense of the word, they are woven with basket-weaving techniques and extend the range of items that can be woven in this way.
Baskets woven with diagonal weaving are the traditional way Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, weave and they are usually woven with Phormium tenax, New Zealand flax. Although many of the samples in the projects are woven using New Zealand flax, most can also be woven with other natural or manufactured materials which can be made into long thin strips, such as bark, palm, plastic strapping or strong paper.
The book is designed for both first-time weavers and more experienced weavers, who may find new and different ways of weaving than they are used to. I’ve attempted to include all of the basic basket-making techniques that can be used to weave the most popular styles of diagonally woven baskets. I’ve also enjoyed adapting the techniques to weave less traditional baskets. The instructions are not intended to show the right way of doing any particular technique, rather the way that works best for me.
Weaving Baskets, Backpacks, Boxes and Other Projects using Diagonal Weaving Techniques, ISBN 978-0-473-30321-1, is a book of 148 pages bound between covers in a plastic-comb spine, which allows it to open out flat for easy use when following the instructions. It is written by me, and printed and published by Browncraft Ltd. It is available direct to the public through my on-line shop. See comments from people who have bought the book at the end of my blog post advising of the publication of the book here.
© Ali Brown 2021