Storage Baskets- Evolution of Living
Hanging from hooks. Sitting on the floor. Baskets have a purpose. Their form states function. And the appearance of a form circles back on the idea of function. Our baskets have two sturdy leather handles, made for slinging over a hook. Shaker pegs work best. Cotton canvas creates the body, a functional material that is hefty and not scared of work.
Each one pulls off a different slice of season, landscape or the story in mind. Lakes, rocks, fencelines, skies and coyotes have each taken their turn on the canvas. At times, the geometry of woodpiles and cows on the fence line finds itself circling round a basket. And the dyes echo back the colours the four seasons bring us. The deep umber of fall grasses against white snow. The subtle yellows of late summer. Purple hues of crocuses popping up on sandy springtime knolls.
Our baskets are unto themselves. They may be similar to their sisters and brothers but each has been created by the piece. Our dye lots are tiny. Painting sessions happen over a week. And then each basket is pinned and stitched on its own.
Slabs of veg tan hides are rolled in the corner of our workshop. When it comes time, there are unfurled and strips are hand-cut. Each long strip is cut to length, dyed, trimmed, carved and then riveted or knotted. We prefer brass rivets as they aren’t quite as flashy as gold or silver. They are a little more understated. Latigo knots are to be trusted and therefore function as rivet alternatives. As I pull up the leather strips and slide them through and down past the loops, I’m reminded of the leather crafting tradition. This was no powder puff needlework to occupy long hours in a parlour. These knots and rolls were pressed into long action, wrenched and twisted, their staying power essential to safety and accomplishment.
The result is a functional piece but with textures and line in mind as it was formed. We draw on our own way of living with these baskets. Our home is small. It is the retreat from the cold, rain and heat we may find ourselves working in. As such, demands are placed on the space that is here. We like to keep things simple, not too fussy but instead, reminiscent of what we find outside by welcoming in branches, rocks and leather. These little bits are stashed on benches and windowsills, memories of a day or place. And the ways we organize coats, gloves, boots, blankets and the rest is reliant upon hooks, baskets and shelves. Our storage baskets are our evolution of keeping tidy. And we hope they can find a mindful place in yours.