Basketry classification

There are four main types of basketry.

  • Coiled basketry uses grasses, rushes and pine needles.
  • Plaiting basketry uses palms, yucca or New Zealand flax.
  • Twining basketry uses roots and tree bark.
  • Wicker and Splint uses reed, cane, willow, oak and ash.

Based on this information, I have researched their origin and found a few examples of the basketry process and finished product.

Coiled basketrys distinctive feature is its foundation, which is made up of a single element of material that is wound in a continuous spiral around itself. The coils are kept in place by thread, the work being done stitch by stitch and coil by coil.

Making a basic coiled basket- jonsbushcraft.com
Fig. 1 – An example of a coiled basket

Plaiting basketry involves crossing strips of material over and under each other, creating what resembles a “checkerboard” pattern.

diagonal weave map basket
Fig. 2 – An example of plaiting basketry

Twining basketry is a weaving technique used to add texture and movement to weaving, but also strengthens edges. As an alternative to hemstitch, twining can be used to finish weaving and requires two sets of yarns.

Behind the Stake
Fig 3 – An example of Twining basketry

Wicker and Splint basketry involves a process of making baskets by taking pliable weft material and lacing it over and under rigid warp material, one piece at a time.

Early 20th Century Oak Splint Basket For Sale at 1stDibs
Fig. 4 – An example of an Oak Splint basket

Images

Fig. 1 – An example of a coiled basket https://www.jonsbushcraft.com/coil%20basket.htm (accessed 13.1.22)

Fig. 2 – An example of plaiting basketry https://sallyroach.wordpress.com/gallery-papercard/ (accessed 13.1.22)

Fig 3 – An example of Twining basketry https://joannascollections.com/blog/twining-the-last-weaver-tutorial (accessed 13.1.22)

Fig. 4 – An example of an Oak Splint basket https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/decorative-objects/bowls-baskets/decorative-baskets/early-20th-century-oak-splint-basket/id-f_12376003/ (accessed 13.1.22)

History of Basketry

Traces of baskets have been found to date back to when the Egyptian pyramids were built, impressions of woven basket liners have been found inside the fragments of ancient pottery. It is thought that explorers and travellers traded goods when they arrived in new lands, which then spread the craft to other parts of the world.

Fig. 1 – Late Archaic Period, 510-500 B.C. Greece | Ancient Egypt Painting, 1400 B.C.

The Native Americans may have left the greatest legacy to the world of baskets but it was the Indians of Arizona and New Mexico who made basket moulded pottery from 5000 to 1000 B.C. as a part of the earliest basket heritage. It is their baskets that are regarded as the pure form of art and one that was created not only by the primitive people but also by women. Consequently, many archeological sites contain baskets – some of the oldest ones are caves and shelters in Oregon, Nevada, Utah and the Great Basin region. The Great Basin region is one of the best preserving areas because of its dry climate. These sites contain examples of prehistoric coiled and twined basketry from up to 11,000 years ago. Other forms of twining such as mats and bags have been found as early as 9,000 years ago. (s.d. 2019)

Fig. 2 – Beekeepers, Brussels, 1568 | Ed Carriere weaving a cattail basket while wearing a woven cedar-bark vest and cedar-bark hat.

Native Americans have created baskets using techniques passed down from generation to generation. The different shapes and sizes made were much needed for storing, carrying, serving, drinking and protecting food items, liquids and personal objects.

The example of baskets below are from the Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology (SHUMAA) collection. They represent a cross-section of designs from the Zuni, Pima and Pomo tribes from the western United States. Although there are four main techniques for making baskets, these on display are either coiled, twined, or a blend of both approaches. Coiling begins at the centre of a basket and radiates outward in spirals. Each spiral is sewn to the one that precedes it. Twining is a technique in which one thread is woven over another to form a strong foundation of horizontals and verticals.

The materials used in basket making depended on the tribe’s geographic location and their traditions. Many Northeast Indians used sweet grass. The Southeastern tribes, often used pine needles and wicker, while the Northwest Indians used spruce root and cedar bark. Yucca and sumac were often used by the Southwest Indians. Anything pliable could be used in basket weaving as long as it was bendable and could form a shape. (Google Arts & Culture, s.d.)

Referencing

(s.d. 2019) https://www.gulmoharlane.com/blog/the-chronicles-of-basketry (accessed 12.1.22)

(Google Arts & Culture, s.d.) https://artsandculture.google.com/story/native-american-basketry/xgKCiVDR6UhdKQ (accessed 12.1.22)

Images

Fig. 1 – Late Archaic Period, 510-500 B.C. Greece | Ancient Egypt Painting, 1400 B.C. https://www.gulmoharlane.com/blog/the-chronicles-of-basketry (accessed 12.1.22)

Fig. 2 – Beekeepers, Brussels, 1568 | Ed Carriere weaving a cattail basket while wearing a woven cedar-bark vest and cedar-bark hat https://www.gulmoharlane.com/blog/the-chronicles-of-basketry (accessed 12.1.22)

Fig. 3 – Examples of baskets made by American tribes https://www.shu.edu/news/walsh-gallery-exhibits-go-online.cfm (accessed 12.1.22)

Being an Exhibition Designer

This final unit of level one, Exploring Creative Practice, I have researched so much information and learned that by drawing in lots of other specialists in different fields it will help when designing an exhibition space. I have learned how social, political, cultural, economic and environmental contexts affect such events in the world and how creating good design can change this with a better outcome. It was interesting researching a conventional linear exhibition online and by drawing the space helped me understand where the objects placed and the reasons for doing so, I will take this information into consideration when designing my exhibition, it’s important to tell the story in a way that the visitor will not only understand but also enjoy and be educated by.

During my research for this part of the unit I came across websites with images of basketry exhibitions and I have drawn inspiration from a few of them. I really like the way the designs sit on the white blocks, creating clean lines around the basketry, drawing the eye to the product itself. The open plan layout of the interior space is perfect for visitors to wander around and between displays. The natural light flooding through the roof lights and the vaulted ceiling itself is full of character lending a good vibe to the overall space. Basketry is mostly made up of natural materials and so the tone of the floor compliments the work in a stylish way, whilst the exhibition space is broken up by white walls and white display blocks, overall it works so well.

Fig. 1 – The Blake Project (2014) at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Hatare

I have enjoyed learning about the niche spatial design practice of Exhibition Design. It’s fascinating the amount of work and thought that does into creating your own exhibition. There are lots of specialisms that make up an exhibition, lots of expertise and ideas that can be involved in the putting on a great exhibition. I think back to the beginning of this unit where I was asked my thoughts on a multi-disciplinary practice, I didn’t actually list the different specialisms but I had an idea that there would be a few more than I had listed. I now have a better understanding from a designers point of view of the work that goes into organising such an event. Besides being organised with all the different parties, I hope to give the visitor the most memorable exhibition, firstly with the sensorial experience before heading into an interior space full of skills, techniques, community history, knowledge, passion, spirit and love that surrounds the world of basketry.

Images

Fig. 1 – The Blake Project (2014) at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Hatare http://contemporarybasketry.blogspot.com/2014/12/basket-case-ii-exhibition.html (accessed 13.1.22)

Exercise 7: What can I see?

Looking at the elevation drawing below of an object in a display case, I then drew it again in side elevation, but taking into consideration an adult, a child and a wheelchair user showing the optimal display height for them individually. This way you can easily see that the visitors would have no problem seeing the object and any written sign that it may have.

Fig. 1 – Catherine Byrne, Display case sketch
Fig. 2 – My own drawing of an adult and display case in side elevation
Fig. 3 – My own drawing of a child and display case in side elevation
Fig. 4 – My own drawing of a wheelchair user and display case in side elevation

I then drew the image of the wheelchair user in plan elevation.

Fig. 5 – My own drawing of a wheelchair user and display cabinet in plan elevation

Lastly, I have drawn the display case as one single size with all three viewers, showing the potential sightlines.

Fig. 6 – My own drawing of an example of the display case and all four visitors

Another interesting exercise, taking into consideration when designing an exhibition, how can you display designs in this way, making sure that all visitors will be able to see the objects and any signs that will accompany them. When you consider a wheelchair user, it’s vital that the object is clear for them to see as they are most likely unable to bend or stand, whereas an adult will probably be able to bend down slightly if needed. The same goes for children, how do you make it interesting and fun for them to keep their imagination alive.

Exercise 6: Being someone else

I have researched information on other people that would be involved in putting together an exhibition design project, other than the spatial designer. I have chosen a graphic designer and found out more information on the role, concerns and responsibilities of that person.

If I was to be the graphic designer, I would need to prioritise a few things. Firstly, what is the exhibition about, what information would be needed on the signage I would be creating. Is there a colour theme to match the whole exhibition. Are images needed to relay information or text only. I would also need to know how many different languages would be required.

I have looked at the exhibition design project as a whole and considered the following questions;
● What information do I need (from the other players) to play my part? I will need to know where the displays will be placed in order for me to design the right size of text and/or image. I will need to know what the lighting is like within the space of the exhibition, will it need more artificial lighting to show the graphics? What material would the designer like the graphics made out of?

● What information will I give to the other players? I will let them know how big or small the signage will be for each design and whether it will be placed on a stand, a wall or a surface.

● What aspect of the whole project do I feel most passionate about? I feel it’s imperative that I design the right graphics to complement the exhibition content, it needs to flow and the visitor needs to be able to enjoy the displays without struggling reading the information.

I will now consider the same questions but from the Interior Designers point of view.
● What information do I need (from the other players) to play my part? I will need us all to work on the same page, to all bring creative ideas to the project to create the best exhibition possible.

● What information will I give to the other players? I will give them the relative information with respect to their role on the project so that we can all work together rather than against each other.

● What aspect of the whole project do I feel most passionate about? I feel that it’s important to have an amazing team to work with and design a exhibition to be admired, educated and amazed by.

Designing an exhibition, albeit an imaginary exhibition has taken me on an amazing journey, I have learnt so much more by putting myself in another persons shoes and attempting to realise what their role will be within this project. I feel that by working as a team player the project will be designed and created at it’s very best, I will appreciate input from all other players and by working collaboratively we will enjoy the process so much more, the end result will then be more of a success.

Research task: Entrance to an Exhibition

I had a look at images of exhibitions online, but specifically for entrances to exhibitions to find examples of both soft and hard entrances. I have annotated two images for both categories, I would say that all of the hard entrances are enhanced by the design of their entrances, inviting the visitor inside to find out more, but I feel that the soft entrances are also very effective, because of the nature of the exhibition I don’t feel they need an ‘ta dah!’ entrance, the information and objects talk for themselves, but each entrance still leaves me intrigued by the content.

Images

Sensory Atmosphere by Ann Hamilton https://www.pinterest.jp/pin/14636767526876469/ (accessed 10/01/22)

PET Lamp exhibition based at Vincon https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/70931762870521520/ (accessed 10/01/22)

The Car, The Future, Me by the Dundee Museum of Transport https://www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk/news/the-car-the-future-me-exhibition-goes-on-tour (accessed 10/01/22)

The Disney Cinderella entrance https://www.tribute.ca/news/photo-galleries/sneak-peek-behind-the-scenes-of-cinderella/entrance-to-cinderella-exhibition/ (accessed 10/01/22)

Exercise 5: Challenging the notion of an Exhibition

I have found 2 examples of artwork on my camera roll, one of which I believe is an example of an exhibition and another I would argue isn’t.

Whilst walking the streets of London in September 2021 enjoying parts of the London Design Festival, one of the creations on display was made by artist Jonah Luswata, his work is called ‘Moonlight Towers’ and it was on display just outside the V&A, the Design Festival’s Brompton Design District. This is an example of an exhibition, presenting the potential of an underused and highly sustainable material, American red oak. He was inspired by the moonlight towers that were used to illuminate the city in the late Victorian era. It’s temporary and designed and made to promote the material, exhibited for the general public to enjoy.

Fig. 1 – My own photograph of Jonah Luswata’s Designpost at the London Design Festival 2021

I found a piece of artwork displayed in a public space whilst walking the streets of Bristol, the sun was shining and the sky was blue and the colours on each of the buildings drew me in. Different themes and characters are on display making me feel happy, I smile as I take a photograph and wonder who the artist is. The project was created by six local artists, a partnership between street art festival Upfest, and Bedminster’s local Business Improvement District (BID). I wouldn’t consider this an exhibition. Artists have transformed a space using bright, cheerful colours, the buildings now have a different character and it shows talent, no longer plain facades on the fronts of buildings above commercial properties in a high street known for its diversity and culture in a trendy part of Bristol, south of the river.

Fig. 2 – My own photograph of artwork on commercial properties in Bristol

My understanding of an Exhibition is a piece of work or a display of works by only one artist. Doing this task has helped reinforce that, when I see a piece of artwork in a public place, I admire their design and always try and find out who it was created by to get a better understanding of it’s origin.

Images

Fig. 1 – My own photograph of Jonah Luswata’s Designpost at the London Design Festival 2021

Fig. 2 – My own photograph of artwork on commercial properties in Bristol

Exercise 4: Compiling content

After writing a narrative for my exhibition and deciding on a title, Exploring Basketry, I must now write a list of the content of my exhibition.

The additional space will be a sensorial space before entering the exhibition, you will be able to see images and film footage displayed on one wall from a projector screen. These images will be of people from around the world who make basketry. As well as that visual you will be able to enjoy artwork on the walls or free standing that are soundscapes, sounds of local habitat of the countries that the basketry is made. The soundscape artwork will work alongside the film footage, so if the basketry footage is of people from Indonesia then the soundscape will be playing sounds from their local habitat. The lighting will be soft giving you a pleasant, informative and thought provoking experience. This space will give you a glimpse of the main exhibition, introducing you to the ancient craft which is still very much alive to this day.

The entrance to the main exhibition space will be an open doorway, with a wall of baskets to the right hand side which will guide the visitor to walk to the left where the main exhibition begins, firstly with a display of the materials, tools and archive news. The display of designs and their stories will follow along with displays of basketry designs both in glass fronted cabinets and on white blocks on the floor. With this in mind I have created a list of items that will be needed.

  • Types of weave – around 13 different types
  • Soundscape artwork
  • Projector with screen and speakers
  • Ancient and modern day tools
  • Basket dyes
  • Newspaper and microfilm archive material
  • Examples of uses; storage, artillery shells etc
  • Basketry materials for visitors to create their own
  • Display cupboards
  • Freestanding display boards
  • Tables
  • White display blocks
  • A curved basketry screen
  • White partitions
  • Wayfinding and photographs
  • A wall made up of baskets
Exhibition Displays
Fig. 1 – An example of a high impact exhibition sign
Productivity and soundscaping – INDG .com
Fig. 2 – An example of a freestanding soundscape piece of art
How to build a home theater (Part 2)
Fig. 3 – An example of a projector screen for the additional space
248,378 White Block Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
Fig. 4 – An example of white floor blocks to display basketry
Best LED Track Lights for Showrooms, Museums, Art Galleries, Retail Stores
Fig. 5 – An example of the soft lighting needed in both spaces
Source High End Museum Display Cases - DG Furniture | Museum displays,  Museum exhibition design, Museum lighting
Vintage Museum Display Case|Museum Display|DG Furniture:info@dgfurniture.com
Fig. 6 – An example of the display units for the exhibition space
PTSD | 17 March - 22 April 2014 - Overview | Lawrie Shabibi
Vintage Childrens Table & Chairs, Set of 5 for sale at Pamono
Fig. 7 – An example of tables for the main exhibition space
Shop Baskets Wholesale | Bulk Decorative Gift Baskets - Page 5
Fig. 8 – A wall of baskets to act as a screen border

This process was a vital part to building a bigger and better picture of how I would like my exhibition to look and feel. It will help me to achieve visually the message behind the ancient craft and take the visitor on a journey through the years and around the world.

Images

Fig. 1 – An example of a high impact exhibition sign https://www.optimasigns.com/products/displays/exhibition-displays (accessed 27/1/21)

Fig. 2 – An example of a freestanding soundscape piece of art https://indg.com/productivity-and-soundscaping/ (accessed 27/1/21)

Fig. 3 – An example of a projector screen for the additional space https://tieuamcaocap.com/en/how-to-build-a-home-theater-part-2/ (accessed 27/1/21)

Fig. 4 – An example of white floor blocks to display basketry https://www.istockphoto.com/search/2/image?phrase=white+block (accessed 27/1/21)

Fig. 5 – An example of the soft lighting needed in both spaces https://www.manufacturer.lighting/info/228/ (accessed 27/2/21)

Fig. 6 – An example of the display units for the exhibition space http://www.dgfurniture.com/MuseumDisplay/VintageMuseumDisplay.html and https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/498070040029649163/(accessed 27/2/21)

Fig. 7 – An example of tables for the main exhibition space https://www.lawrieshabibi.com/exhibitions/35-ptsd-shahpour-pouyan/overview/ and https://www.pamono.co.uk/vintage-childrens-table-chairs-set-of-5 (accessed 27/2/21)

Fig. 8 – A wall of baskets to act as a screen border https://www.quickwayimports.com/wicker-baskets/?page=5 (accessed 27/2/21)

Exercise 3: Exhibitions – big and small

I have carried out some research into exhibitions that are both big and small. I like the idea that museums have open storage for items that would not normally be on display. This kind of display is not a typical exhibition, you would not be able to look at each display in one visit but for students, researchers and artists it’s a great tool to help with their work. As well as visible storage galleries, museums are creating research rooms where we can handle objects. This way communities can be brought together to understand what can and can’t be shown, especially when dealing with sensitive materials. Not everything that museums own can be exhibited all of the time and quite often this is the response from visitors, it is a shame that this is not possible, but by creating open storage it should help the viewer see the bigger collection. There will also be items that are extremely light sensitive and so exposure would be avoided and will need continuous protection or items that are perceived as erotic content and so not suitable for children to see. It would seem that we are returning to the old concept of how museums in the 19th century would have everything on display, there is the obvious change in display cases and containers and lighting styles but the idea is the same.

On a regular basis I am enjoying the contents of emporiums, warehouses stacked with furniture where you can buy pre loved items and give them a new lease of life. In a way these spaces are exhibiting their wares. This excites me, I do buy brand new items but many can lack character and buying an item that would have been enjoyed by other humans brings me so much joy, there is a story behind every piece of furniture and by bringing them into your own home or a clients home continues that story and journey. I have grown up in a throw away society and since having my own family I appreciate items so much more, the general rule in my home is that if it’s not broken why try and fix it. You can alter the style, look and overall aesthetic of any piece of furniture but just as easily tweek it to suit your own style, place it in another room to give it a new purpose and just as importantly leave it just as it is, it was designed and made in that way which, in my opinion, makes it a much more charismatic piece.

Walking around a warehouse full of furniture, vintage clothing, bric a brac, paintings, books, vinyls is like walking around an exhibition, an obvious difference is that they are all not labelled explaining their design and journey to that point but all of it can still be enjoyed and admired and the end result is that you can purchase a piece and take it on a new journey through your life. Maybe I have an unnatural attachment to such items but they do make me feel alive!

Can you exhibit just one item? I’m really not sure that you can, I ask myself is it possible to tell a story with just one item? It can be done but would be very limited in my exhibition. Unless of course you have lots of similar size items and temporarily bind them together in a way that makes it look like one item? All of the basketry made from around the world could be bound together with the same material to create one large exhibition piece.

I have a narrative for an imaginary exhibition. My story will begin with a sensory space, images projected onto a wall of basketry being made whilst music and sounds are played through a soundscape (sounds and image as a piece of artwork on the wall), it will continue to play on a loop. The lighting will be soft creating a calm atmosphere before entering the main exhibition space. At the beginning of the exhibition will be a display of materials, tools and archive news. The narrator will tell the story of each object on display by displaying text in the form of a sign. The path will lead from the sensory room into the exhibition space and the first exhibit that you arrive at once you enter those doors. The journey will take you through a story behind each design. The context will be a description about the material; where is the material grown, how is it grown and looked after, when is it cut and what is that process, this information must include historic process and design. It will be imperative to include the creators themselves, a little back story of how they came to make the basketry, a wall of photographs showing their faces, which will end the exhibition. My exhibition will include sensory areas, where you can touch, feel and smell the designs evoking emotions, how it makes you feel. There will also be a table with materials and tools, along with instructions, for adults and children to create their own piece of basketry to take home with them as a reminder of their time at the exhibition.

Reflecting on my feedback for Assignment Four

The Historical ‘Shape’ of Spatial Design Practices

My tutor is pleased to see my discipline and exploration of the research and communication needed in this part of the course.

It was noted that I would benefit from supporting my work with further research to reflect a more in-depth analysis maybe with images to back up my evidence. I must keep in mind that as a designer it’s important to communicate my ideas well, so I will consider different ways of doing this.

My learning log continues to be easy to follow and track my work, which I’m pleased about and still enjoy creating the content. I’m conscious that my tutor has noted in previous assignments that my hierarchy in the text hasn’t always been very clear, but this time my tutor was pleased to see the difference in my radar graphs.

Going forward I have made a list to help organise my thoughts and actions

  • continue to back up my work with images or diagrams
  • be more experimental with how I communicate my ideas

I will continue to look at ways of improving my work and ideas as I move forward to completing Assignment Five.