Admitting that I am not able to do something is not easy. Especially when it is in my area of expertise. Double not easy.
A church in town wanted a basket to match the others they already had that were to be used for their Easter decorations. One of the set had disappeared in the last year or so and they didn’t want to have to get all new baskets.
It’s grapevine. I do grapevine. I do baskets. I even do grapevine baskets! But this one has stymied me.
It needs a flat back to hug the wall. It has a very narrow belly which means fairly sharp turns. It needs to sit flat. It isn’t even woven on the bottom – but then, I’m not sure how you would weave a grapevine base with those tight confines of dimensions. The handle is just pushed in next to the spokes and EVERYTHING – the spokes, the weavers, the handle, the bottom cross pieces – is stapled together to hold it in place. There is no traditional structure, nothing that is normal for solidifying a basket.
I thought I could handle it. After all, I know baskets. And I know grapevine, which is one of the problems.
The grapevine around here is just now becoming supple again with the sap starting to flow from its winter low. What’s NOT evident yet, is the possible presence of poison ivy where the grapevine grows. I’m not too inclined to go out in the woods to gather grapevine if I can’t be sure of what else I might be gathering. Don’t want to pass the itchies on to the church folks either. And my body wasn’t up for gathering last fall before the leaves came off so I missed that opportunity.
That’s why the purchase of vines mentioned in the last post. A four foot diameter wading pool turned out perfect for soaking the wreaths so I could take them apart. There was some initial evidence of sap coming out so I felt confident that the rest of the vines would soak up nicely. Unfortunately, the majority of the vines were dry and no amount of soaking was going to make them supple.
Okay, I thought, I can still do this. With trusy hammer and nails, I would put this puppy together just like the sample…………………..
Somewhere in the world is a factory with marvelous jigs in place to hold things in just the right way with just the right tension and support the materials in just the right fashion to make creating a basket (like the church one) a doable thing. Probably even easy.
That place is not here. And certainly not at my home or studio. I tried a jig using a cardboard box and lots of duct tape. I tried nails. I tried staples. I tried wires. I was ready to wood glue it all together if I could get it to stay put. I even got so far as to try to do a bit of weave around the base with a strand of the supplest grapevine I had thinking that if I could just get one row on I could stabilize things.
It got the better of me. I found that my hand strength is not what is had been and my thumbs were aching. Constructing without any base was going against everything I knew. I ran out of options to make it work.
Maybe someone else could do this, but it’s not going to be me.
I feel really badly about not being able to supply the desired basket for the church. I’m hoping they can adjust their decorating scheme so no one notices one is missing.