At the outset, I found Baskets by Tabara N’Diaye riveting. This is a handcraft unknown to me, and N’Diaye begins delving into her craft with historical information. The history section explores who traditionally made baskets, what materials they used, and why the different types and styles of baskets were made. Throughout the book, the photos are stunning! Each page is beautifully illustrated and the inspiring visuals continue throughout. Expect to be awed by the beauty of the wide variety of types of handmade baskets from around the world.
In each of four sections, Tabara focuses on one distinct material type, followed by some projects to craft using it. With grass, cane, rope and twine, the book offers a total of 16 diverse projects. They range from large firewood baskets to handled picnic baskets, planters, coasters, placements, + more. There is even a bicycle basket! Even better, none of these projects uses weird tools. The author teaches basketry from the very beginning, building skills as she goes, with photographs depicting each step. Across the page, pictures showcase aspirational, artist-level baskets. Skills learned throughout the book ultimately allow each crafter to adapt the basket’s shape or size.
Reading it through the first time, I felt empowered to buy materials. I’ll be starting with the Rope How-To, and making a planter basket. And no, I’ve never tried basketry before.
My Reading Notes:
- organized by material type with a lot of variations on grass + cane, fewer on Rope + twine
- history section – “Native American basketry was one of the first crafts to be commercially exploited and it became a major trade item due to its bright colours and intricate patterns (page 13).”
- Photography for tools + materials with labels and clear explanations
- Beautiful amount of white pace, balanced by images + directions. Very crisp imagery makes projects easy to follow.
- Glorious sample baskets + lots of them to review color choices + patterns. Inspiring.
- Wide variety of basket shapes without using shaping devices or weird tools
- Dyeing materials instead of purchasing others is a nice way to add range
Who is this book written for?
Anyone crafty who’s hoping to learn basic basketry. All of the 16 projects here start at zero and move through pictures for the major skills required.