Hanna Van Aelst is highly skilled at basketry. She is a talented artist and basket-maker. Her YouTube channel is enthralling to me, as a craftsteader. Hanna grows her own willow at her country property in Tipperary, Ireland. She lives with her family, “off-grid in the forest on a mountain” and her website can be found here.
Hanna’s videos include information about how to grow willow, harvest it, grade it, and prepare it for basketry, as well as some basic basketry tutorials. Sometimes she makes videos about her many other interests, or philosophical musings. I love every one of her videos and always look forward to new ones.
Below is a selection of two of Hanna’s videos that fellow craftsteaders will enjoy.
Basketmaking for beginners: the base
Catalan tray made from foraged materials (tension tray, easy weaving project).
Liziqi’s YouTube channel is a joy to watch. It depicts a lifestyle of sustainability and self-sufficiency, wrapped in a stunningly picturesque environment. Liziqi makes things from scratch, and I mean, really from scratch. You can watch her plant some seeds, see the plants grow and the fruits (or seeds or leaves or roots) ripen, watch her harvest them and carry them home through heavenly landscapes in beautiful handwoven bamboo baskets, then see her wash, chop and cook them into a gourmet meal, or use them in other ways.
Liziqi makes her own furniture, wades in vast ponds to harvest giant lotuses, grinds her own grain, brews her own beverages and more. And barely a word is spoken, which is very relaxing. You’ll enjoy the sounds of nature – birds, falling water etc.
Here’s a sample from the numerous videos on her channel. It’s called “The Life of Cotton”. Scroll down and you’ll find the bamboo furniture one, too. Make yourself a cup of your favorite brew, sit back, put your feet up, click “play” and enjoy!
There are many enthralling videos on YouTube that fit pretty closely with the Craftsteading ethos, such as Sally Pointer on YouTube. Stumbling across new channels has been a delight. Over the next few posts I’m going to mention some of them.
Sally Pointer on YouTube brings you objects, skills, and inspiration from the past, to enrich the future. Find her website at www.sallypointer.com Sally is a heritage educator, researcher, maker and demonstrator of traditional skills based in the UK, and works with museums and heritage organisations worldwide to promote an understanding of the past through hands on experience. She posts about ancient technology, craft skills, foraging, food, costuming and some of the adventures she goes on.
Location: UNITED KINGDOM
Here’s her video about stinging nettles.
And here’s Sally Pointer’s video about harvesting lime bast for cordage and basketry.
Bamboo weaving is an art. Most people agree that bamboo is one of the world’s most useful plants, because you can build with it, weave with it, make paper, furniture, musical instruments, baskets, tableware, scaffolding, clothes and accessories with it, burn it as fuel and even eat it.
To weave bamboo, you first have to split it into thin strips. Watch a video (scroll down) called “Bamboo splitting and making strips for weaving” by a YouTube channel called JUNKAN WORKS.
Bamboo makes beautiful strong baskets and woven furniture but it needs a lot more pre-weaving preparation than willow. After you harvest and cure the bamboo poles, you have to slice up the inflexible stems into ever thinner strips that are bendy enough to be woven. In countries where bamboo is native, especially in Asia, craftspeople have perfected tools and techniques to make this process easier and quicker.
Watch a skilled weaver make a bamboo tray. These trays are useful for draining, drying, storage and carrying.
If you live in the right climate and have a garden, you can grow your own bamboo.
Bamboo comes from all over the world except Europe. It’s native to South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. And yes, North America also has three native species of bamboos! Australia has 3 or possibly 4 native bamboos, though they only like living in the hot climates up north.
Bamboos are fast-growing members of the Grass family. Their species are native to a wide range of climates from hot tropical through to warm temperate and even cool climates. The plants love water and sunshine. They will grow in most soil types, from heavy clay-based soil to sand. It is important to ‘feed’ the bamboo on-top of the soil with a good thick mulch layer and regular fertilizing. Most bamboos prefer well-drained soil, which means they don’t like growing in swampy areas.
Be careful to choose clumping varieties rather than the rather invasive running varieties. One of the most useful bamboos for weaving is called Gracilis, or Slender Weaver (Bambusa textilis var gracilis). It’s also useful as a screening plant as it grows quickly along narrow spaces to make a living fence, giving you privacy from your neighbors.
At the Craftsteading Store, from time to time we stock handmade woven bamboo items such as trays and sieves and sushi boats. If you don’t see them in stock check back late or write to us.