Discovering coil basketry using invasive vines

Vidalba, an invasive in the Mediterranean relative to a Clematis proved to be a worthy, if time consuming workable vine…

The external shell of the vine needed to be peeled off, and the vine could be temperamental as to snapping at the leaf nodes… I was harvesting In October,  and did not get to spend enough time to discover why some vines snapped and others were fine, I think perhaps the amount of sun is likely.

first experiment, a finger crocheted nest

Sometimes the absurdity of what I find myself doing needs to be documented… needless to say, most of my time making the piece was stripping the vine. I would work on prepping the vine at night, store in rolls and soak for 20-40 minutes before using. I found if the vine, once stripped was stored indoors where there was an occasional fire going, or sat in the sun, the vines would not become supple enough for reworking and stayed brittle.

Initial stitchery was sloppy, until I figured out a method of binding the new coil to the previous coil, always stitching to the same furthermost side. A pointy stick served as an awl, the only tool required.

As my vine got short, the end was woven back and forth along the seam of previous stitches, and a new line started the same way.

Like building a coil pot with clay, the shape is dictated by the placement of  each coil row, slight turns in or out altering the shape as it progresses. When the basket form measured  3 ft high I left it outdoors for a few days and nights so it could settle, and I could where the shape would need reinforcement against future droop…. before it became the roof of the barraca de vinya sculpture.


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