Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Basket Essentials

Basket Essentials is a tutorial and technique guide for weaving reed baskets by Lora S. Irish. Due out 1st July 2020 from from Fox Chapel, it's 200 pages and will be available in paperback format. 

Fox Chapel are well kn0wn for the quality of their DIY and homestyle publications. This is a worthy entry into that lineup. It's a fine primer with step by step instructions and copious tutorial photographs which are clear and illustrative. The author has an upbeat and casual writing style which is easy to follow. 

The introductory chapter includes a survey of styles, terms, and tools with good clear photos of each. Finishing, dyeing/painting, and repair and maintenance round out the intro chapter. The next chapters progress through techniques and weaving, basket shapes and styles, and decorative features to incorporate. The third chapter includes step-by-step instructions for three specific weaving projects: a hip basket, a melon basket with decorative spoke, and a wheel-ear high shoulder melon basket. The tutorials are filled with clear usable photographs and spare no-frills instruction. I have no doubts that a keen beginner could produce a useful basket with access to the tools and supplies enumerated.  The book also includes abbreviated tutorials for 12 additional baskets which are all beautiful and functional as well as decorative. 

Each tutorial includes an introduction with finished measurements and special features in a header. Tools and supplies are listed bullet style in a sidebar (measurements are given in American standard units). The step by step instructions are numbered sequentially. The book includes an index, but no metric conversions or source links - though a short internet search turned up a plethora of suppliers.

Well written, accessible for beginning to advanced basketweavers, useful, and appealing. Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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