Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Gathering 2013

It’s time to gather materials for the coming year.  Every season is different, so time must be spent in the mountains watching for the perfect time to gather.  Right now, willow is ready and in some areas hazel is ready.
When it’s time to gather our materials, the actual weaving of baskets must take a back seat; so not much progress is happening on my cap at this time. As much as I want to be weaving, the Big Picture is a cycle and a very time sensitive process.  When the materials are ready, everything else has to wait.
I may have said before, that the very best materials are from sites that have been either burned in the past few years, or have been managed.  Managing involves cutting back the plants so that the next year they will want to send out lots of new, straight shoots.  Burning and managing the plants also tends to minimize the bugs.  Sticks that have spots where bugs have burrowed in must be discarded because those spots weaken the sticks and they tend to break more often.
New willow produces a very straight shoot which is fairly white when it dries.  Hazel dries a little darker and it has sort of a zig-zagged straightness – but it’s stronger than willow.
Following are pictures of hazel and willow gathering and processing.
Yôotva. Thank you for reading my blog.
Drove to the river twice in the past two weeks  to collect
willow.  It wasn't quite ready the first trip, but was much
better this past weekend.

This area has been managed.  I'm so fortunate to
 be able to collect materials in such a beautiful place.

We also collected some hazel this past weekend.
The two bundles on the left are hazel and the two
on the right are willow.  Once the materials are sorted
and sized, each pile will be much smaller.
I think I have enough willow for next year (combined
with what I already have), but I'll
 need to collect lots more hazel.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Change of Plans

I have had to come to terms with the fact that my cap is getting too big.  So, I am altering my original design pattern.  I have had to make the tough decision to leave some of my original elements/design out.  I continued to work closely with Verna today on my technique and forever pulling my sticks closer and tighter.  A lot of it has to do with the size of weaver and overlay material.
It is Spring and time to start gathering our materials.  You can feel the excitement in a room full of basketweavers, getting ready for another season of being outdoors by the river and in the mountains gathering our materials to carry us through until next year.  I stopped on my way home to check the willow.  A friendly Forest Service Law Enforcement officer stopped to question me about what I was doing. He was quite curious about my willow sticks in hand.  I smiled and said, “I’m a basketweaver, and it’s time to gather willow.” I explained to him how in the Spring when the plants start to grow and put on new growth, the sap is flowing allowing the bark to peel easily from the sticks.  He smiled, shook my hand and went on his way.
This is what the inside of my cap looks like. 
My materials soaking, waiting for Verna to arrive.

This is what my cap looks like today. 

Peeled a few "test" willow sticks today.