A Brief History
Since time immemorial, humans have always needed carriers for contents.
Not only to transport and to store food, but for tools, animals, clothes, etc.
For this, we have been weaving fibers as an answer to our primary and essential needs.
Archaeological research in Upper Egypt found weaved articles dating back to over ten thousand years.
Interestingly, exceptional conservation conditions allowed for the discovery of these ancient weaved articles which were made using vegetal and biodegradable materials.
Therefore, it can be said that basketmaking is the art of weaving vegetable fibers.
The list of materials we can use is endless, for example: chestnut, hazel, clematis, viburnum, privet, bramble, straw, etc.
Or a more traditionally used material: willow.
But what is Willow ?
Willow branches ranging from 60cm to 3m can be used in basket-weaving.
Weaving Techniques & Materials
La Vannerie Spiralée Cousue is a technique used to weave fibers in a spiral pattern. A raw material such as straw is sewed with bramble skeins to make baskets for storing bread and beehives.
La Vannerie Sur Arceaux or ‘basketry on arches’ is made with willow, hazel, and chestnut.
Soft materials such as rush or iris are used to make a hat, for example.
I invite you to discover this basketry at Patricia Brangeon.
Traditional basketry with peeled willow is suitable for bakers and butchers. The bark is removed for food hygiene and regulations.
Donc habillé de son écorce aux multiples couleurs et odeurs.
Réalisée avec un peu tout ce que l’on trouve de souple : le saule pleureur, la vigne, le lierre, le genêt.
Experimental basketry makes use of new materials such as hemp rope, wool or metal.
Outdoor basketry uses living willow to make bigger structures such as shelters, domes, hedges, sculptures for parks and gardens.
There are many species of Salix (or willows), but only a few are fit for making baskets. The material that I use the most is brown willow. Depending on the place it grows, its color, smell and characteristics can change.
Here are a few that I use :
– Salix Fragilis “Rouge Belge” from bright red to orange
– Salix Daphnoides from blue for “Purpurea” to shiny green for “Helix”
– Salix Triandra “Grisette”, with a bewitching smell and a brown rustic color
– Salix Alba, orange, which is still used for some vineyard work around Bordeaux
– Jeanne Coulbaut alias ‘L’oseraie de Thiérache” certified Organic (Brunehamel, 02)
– Serge Mazaud alias “Esprit Osier”, who does not use artificial chemicals (Voutezac, 19)
– Matthieu et Laurent Bouché alias “Osier Ardennes France” (Germont, 08)
– Exploitation de l’Ecole Nationale d’Osiériculture et de Vannerie
Basketmaking is the only handmade art and craft.
Made here or on the other side of the world with willow, bamboo, rattan, raphia, no machine is able to make what our hands create.
Basketmakers do not only make baskets.
At school, we only learn to make traditional baskets in series with peeled willow.
Then, depending on the personality and the wishes of the wicker, according to one’s inspirations and aspirations, one is inclined towards traditional, classic, creative, or contemporary basketry to make either baskets, decoration items, sculptures or outdoor installations.
Decorative articles can give your interior the charm of unique handmade pieces, captivating your senses and emotions with frames, vases, mobiles, light, candlesticks, sculptures, etc.
The aesthetic possibilities along with the techniques from all over the world are endless.
Openwork, “Nansa” fishtrap and neolithic techniques are the ones that I prefer as they offer the possibility to make aerials and graphic items which we can utilise in playing with light and shadow.
Basketry today is different for each maker in terms of technique but also in the way of imagination.
What basketry means to me
For me, it is a way to express the emotions I cannot with words. It is a way of exploring forms and landscapes from my workshop.
It is the art which allows me to work manually, consciously, in silence with the material guiding me and expressing itself.
It is a real kind of dialogue between nature and I.
It is also the best way to meet, share and exchange beautiful moments.