This morning I finished a little covered coil basket. It’s a gift for someone who has helped me through difficult times and so it’s more symbolic than a functional work. I am currently dividing my fiber work into “craft” which is a skilled product, “play” which is messing around with new techniques just to see where it takes me, and “art”. Not having any formal art training I get to make up the definitions for my terms and art for me isn’t necessarily a functional object (although it can be) but it has symbolism.
The yarns are all vegetable dyed or natural colors. Many of them I spun myself but some are commercial because I am not a purist. The center started off with a coil of seams of old clothing, Seams hold our clothes together and I am putting pieces of myself into the basket. But cloth, I found out, does not make a secure core and the bottom of the basket is flexible yes, but not very sturdy. It reflects the way I’ve felt this past year. The bottom of the basket is all yarn I dyed in my backyard, much of it with plants from my garden including sagebrush, native toyon and fig leaves. Madder was a gift from a neighborhood friend, and oxalis from another neighbor’s yard. A small amount of yarn was dyed and spun by another neighbor who was my knitting teacher. The basket contains yarn and cloth left over from gifts to family members and eventually bits of clothing from the rest of my family. So my natural and human household and neighborhood are all represented here.
The clothing core was too soft and so I twisted it giving a firmer core but the twist is jagged. Life is like that sometimes. There are gaps between the rows where the core got thicker and narrower like the good and bad times in life. I even left little bits of cloth core exposed, as I expose my life through this basket.
Technically the basket has weaknesses, but I learned a lot. It was a labor of love and the symbolism is deeply important to me.