Sunday, November 18, 2018

Stone Basket Weaving Class

“Roselynn appraised Shane as she would an interesting rock, saying nothing.
However, Roselynn was the sort much enamored of rocks.”
― Thomm Quackenbush, We Shadows

I, too, am enamored of rocks and always have been.  And I have a special love of smooth, round stones that fit nicely in the palm of your hand.  I also love packaging.  I still remember that I was blown away over two decades ago when I came across a book called "How to Wrap Five Eggs" .  I love when thought has gone into combining two materials to create something novel and gorgeous.  Maybe that is what drew me to take a basket-weaving class at NC State while in grad school many years ago.   Every so often I would pull out the reed and tinker with it.  I had this idea of making handmade clay beads of Mayan goddesses and working them into a basket (that half finished basket may still live somewhere in my basement!).

It had been quite a while since I thought about all of that reed crammed away in the recesses of my home.  Then about three years ago I saw the work of Deloss Webber on Pinterest and I was stunned by the beauty of his work.  I decided to pull out my old reed and give it a go on my own.  You can see a blog post about it here.  I have also experimented with wild reed from Costa Rica called "mimbre".

After finishing the blogposts I ended up pinning some of my photos on Pinterest and it has been my number one pin.  Since then I have had quite a few people email me about how to make these "basket stones".  I hadn't really intended to teach a class on it, but last month life magically sent me to Point Gratiot, NY where I was literally surrounded by perfect stones for rock wrapping.  That, along with the finishing of my new studio, felt like a sign that it was time to do it. 

So yesterday Anne and Lisa came over to the studio and we had a lovely afternoon of rock wrapping.  Anne is an incredible jeweler, fiber artist, painter, and tribal sculptor (you can see her work here).  And Lisa is an uber-talented illustrative designer, surface designer, and mobile maker (you can see her work here).  These women have talent coming out their ears!  As you can see we had fun unwinding (and winding) together.

The hardest part of stone wrapping is getting it started.  I always wish I had more fingers or hands to keep all the pieces tight.

But eventually, as you slowly work your way up the rock, the reed begins to hold itself in place and you find yourself in a weaving groove.  The squeaky sound of reed being pulled through tight spaces and pulling it snug against the rock is super satisfying.

Below you can see some of our stone weavings.  I love that both Lisa and Anne not only made beautiful pieces, but added their own touches to their work.

I learned a lot from teaching this course, as one always does.  And I hope to teach another class in the new year.  If you are interested you can visit and send me a message on the contact page.

"Even stones have a love, a love that seeks the ground."Meister Eckhart