Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Black Ash for Miniature Baskets

Black Ash for Miniature Baskets

By: Charlotte Des Roches

Black Ash (Fraxinus Nigra) is a tree that has long been used for making baskets. It has several nicknames, including brown ash, basket tree, and basket ash. It grows in the North Eastern area of the US, and in Canada. To prepare a black ash for using for baskets, a tall, fairly knot free tree is selected. It should be a minimum of 6 feet & preferably 10 to 12 feet long. The bark is then removed, and the log is pounded up & down the length with a mallet to loosen the growth layers. The growth layers can then be peeled off the log & rolled up & saved for further preparation work at a later time. If all the work can't be completed on the log right away, the log should be soaked in a pond until it can be worked on.

The next step in the process is preparing the splints from the growth layer strips. If they have been allowed to dry, you will need to soak them in water before you start. You will need a few tools for this part of the process. A sharp jackknife, scissors, a piece of heavy canvas or leather for protecting your leg, a splitting box, a pencil, tape measure and some clothes pins. Instead of trying to explain the whole process,which many have done before me, and can be found in books and on the web, here are some pictures me working on black ash splints that I use for making miniature basket.
My splitting box

Close up of splitting box

Splint & knife

The cut

The Ash in the splitting box

Prepared black ash splints cut & ready for weaving

The Black Ash Splints soaking in preparation for weaving.

Link to a wonderful description called: Process Black Ash Woodsplint For Basketmaking

I have had the opportunity to do the whole process from tree to basket, but that was when we lived in the Northeast. It is hard work, but very rewarding. Now that we live in New Mexico, I order black ash from back east, and get it in strips and do the rest of the processing.

Here are some pictures of some of my Black Ash Miniature Baskets.

Hope you have enjoyed this little journey, and if anyone reading this article is fortunate enough to have a stand of Black Ash Trees on their property, you might consider contacting a local basket weaver. It is a tradition with Black Ash Basket Weavers to trade a basket for a good Basket Tree.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

There are several new baskets available in our
online Shop!
Hidden Valley Basketwerks

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Simpler Times

The new issue is on-line! I have another article in the Creative Cloister. It is the third and final one in my series about Shaker Baskets. Lots of other fun stuff in this issue as well...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shaker Style Baskets Articles I am writing

Check out the new issue of The Simpler Times. I have a series of articles I am writing on Shaker style Basket in the Creative Cloister. I also have a recipe in this issue. It is a wonderful on line magazine on Prim Style crafts & so much more.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Woven Bird Nest Baskets in Etsy Shop

Added today to our ETSY Shop are 7 Special little Hand Woven Bird Nest Baskets. These would make wonderful Christmas Gifts.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome to our New Blog

We welcome everyone to our new Blog for Hidden Valley Basketwerks! We will share some of our hand woven baskets here, along with some news & stories of our weaving adventures. Our baskets are now available in our booth that was made available through The Primitive Artisans Guild
Hidden Valley Basketwerks