The concept behind this work is to transform greenwaste into something useful by weaving a simple bowl.
Random weaving is a traditional Japanese basketry technique used mostly for ikebana flower arrangements where the design evokes delicate birds’ nests. In this technique the material is simply woven back into itself, constructing a frame or skeleton from the bottom up.
Waste To Woven
This is a very spontaneous, playful and intuitive way to work. Often slow, the materials’ pliability dictates the final form and texture. There is no ‘real’ pattern to follow, so there are NO MISTAKES. A lot of the weaving process has to do with learning about properties, tension and pliability of the materials. However, because you don’t have to worry about the materials shrinking – tight weaving is not characteristic of this style – you can even gather fresh green plants to use from your garden, or bushwalk and weave at the same time. The weave can be either very dense or very open; surprisingly solid and strong as well.
Materials And Tools
All you need is: a bundle of long and flexible woody fibres; a pair of sturdy garden clippers or scissors; and a bucket of hot water to soak your dry material in until it becomes pliable and fungi/bacteria free. You can use fresh vines, or boil them first to remove the bark. Australia has a vast range of coastal, bush and backyard weeds and natives suitable for weaving. I usually gather and forage what’s seasonally available. I prefer to collect things like palm inflorescences, gum barks, jacaranda needles, cordyline and philodendron leaves, figtree hanging roots, honeysuckles and ivy vine. However, you can make your design more interesting with a ‘contemporary twist’ by including in your material selection any recycled item that’s going to waste at home, such as copper wires, plastic straws, wool and buttons.
Basic Construction Steps – the bottom of the form is where the weave begins
1. Start with a loop of fibre, which can be any diameter you feel comfortable with. You just need to make sure that the ends stay tucked in.
2. On that loop, wrap another fibre loosely, allowing it to dangle, leaving six or seven loops. You will weave around these to form the shape of the basket.
3. Add as many materials as desired, always tucking in the ends, so that they remain in place when the basket is dry.
4. Draw the fibres tighter by pulling them closer, and fill in any open spaces.
5. There is no real pattern for the basket, and the shape or scale can be anything you have in mind.
Claudia Echeverria runs courses in random weaving. The aim of her courses is to engage people in a creative process where they not only receive weaving skills, materials and techniques but are held in a space where they can enter the realm of the unseen. A therapeutic and meaningful experience where people get to confront, and ultimately let go of their fears, frustrations, creative blocks and unspoken longings.