How to Weave a Basket Using Sea Kelp
History behind weaving baskets and sea kelp
The art of weaving basketry takes years to become an expert in creating exceptional designs using different eco-friendly materials and added in colors of sinew, twine, raffia, and dying any materials that are used for basketry. Growing up I learned many skills and crafts and with that background, it's made it easier to move up by professional artistic abilities in these areas. I thought that I would use sea kelp to weave a basket that I'd normally used with materials such as wicker, willow bark, reeds, that are much stronger and durable that make it easier to work with when weaving. I decided "why not be unique and use sea kelp." What a difficult and long process that took me to figure out how and then to complete the project but, Oh What A Blast!
Sea kelp process:
I recommend you do to understand the reasons and difficultly I had making this project with using kelp as my material.
I had to make 7"×7" of 14 spokes and as many pieces that fit the length around the whole basket. I estimated 4 layers of weave that I was going to make it.
If you read my last post about sea kelp and how the history of it is then you can understand about this first step in trying to make the materials as flat strips of kelp to weave as if it was wicker or any other materials normally used. Now I understand why kelp has never been used and isn't really the right type of material used at all!
How to make the strips for weaving:
Kelp structure makes it hard to work with because even after you cut the piece to lay it out and stitch any amount of pieces together it rolls back up into its natural form. Here is the problem I had to figure out "how will I make them stay flat before starting to weave?"
- Soak the kelp to make it pliable to cut strips long enough to start the square bottom of the 7"×7" spokes.
- How to make them flat and stay that way. I had to try my hardest to lay them down on a piece of wood and pile on heavy pieces of wood as they were trying to curl back up.
- After the second step I repeated it several times to manipulate it to change the way it normally is without anyway of the way I make my sea kelp baskets. To read more about it.
- Each piece of sea kelp is different in many ways again read the first post for details of what that entails. I soaked them for about 5 to 10 minutes before starting to do the first step in making the bottom.
Starting to weave:
- I layer out 7 spokes and weaved in 7 spokes tightly putting them as I weaved them in the middle forming a square like look.
- Now it was the difficult start that continued to get harder and harder as I went through each step. To weave in the first strip that was the length of the entire basket I started on the right corner and weaved it until the end that stopped before the beginning of the weave. Here's why it was difficult! The kelp wasn't the type to be strong enough to stay up as I weaved. Seen below:
- Next, after you weave enough to finish the height you want to start to take the sides that are loose and tuck then under the next weaved until every piece is weave is tucked under nicely. This was hard to completion because they would slide out after I did one layer.
- Finally, you take the top weaves that are going towards the basket which is every other one and tuck it into the inside loop of the weave. Next, do the rest of the ones left but opposite way. Tuck it under the loop on the outside.
It was so hard to keep the weave in place and the kelp from falling down because it wasn't sturdy enough to stay up.
The finished project after I tucked in the top pieces. I found it very difficult to do.
The view from the side of my project of weaving basketry using sea kelp.
I found that I enjoyed the challenge for my way I figured out to try it but from what I heard through the grapevines, is it has been done before and was easy to learn. That being said, I've not found any information or website that has been a tutorial or pictures of any. If you know of any place or where you might have seen anything close please share and comment on your thoughts.
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Coming Up soon!
My coastal photography gallery
As most of my you might have noticed I started backup my photography that I learned years ago. I'm working on adding another shop on my photography which you will be able to purchase any of the photographs in multiple sizes from this website by August 1st, 2017. Here's one of my latest photographs that I've shared on my social media sites as a sneak review of my new work.