Online Studio Week 3, 22nd July


Online studio Week 3, 22nd July

Stephanie’s journal

This week, we got more telephone wire and other materials of a similar delicateness through the post from Mary. Great! I determined to use the telephone wire this week. Last week there was a discussion on the different merits of our materials, and Geraldine’s metal wire, the telephone wire, and the rattan seemed to have come out preferred. Certainly, the fishing braid did not really hold a stiff row of loops.

Having not managed to learn how to start a second row, and to  loop it onto the first row last week, my aim this week was, firstly to try to make the loop the same way around as Geraldine, and then to make several rows of loops worked into each other, each one below the next. So, I began row 1 in phone wire, the opposite way I had worked up to now.

Following the blue sample Geraldine which had sent really helped. That went well. It is amazing, given how simple the loops are, how difficult it is to get the rhythm and sequence of the process clear in one’s mind. I found at this point that I even got into using my fingers as formers to keep the loop size even. Then I did row 2 into row 1. That took a bit of time to figure out, but Geraldine’s shower tube models made it ultimately much easier. Then row 3 into row 2. Altogether, it took me 3 hours!

In between time, we had conversations. Hilary was making a frame basket for the Selvedge online World Fair, and we talked about online courses and how to run them safely in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak; and Mary had been making a kind of folded paper basket and was telling us about ‘knotology’ and ‘resilient knots’ – see our reference list; and Ricardo had found an article about Ruth Asawa, and was talking about her.

As a digression, some of us went to see the Ruth Asawa exhibition in London in January. It was quite wonderful. It was inspirational to see how she made such beautiful simple forms by using such a simple technique. And also how she did this while being a mum. We had hoped to link up in some way to the Oxford exhibition of her work, planned for earlier this year, and which may hopefully still be held later this year, Apparently, her looping technique is different from Geraldine’s.


At the end of this session, I found myself looking at Jason’s other backstrap basket from Borneo, and realised it was simply one row into the next, as we had been doing, but the whole structure was strengthened by parallel rows of pairing into each row of loops. The loops were in the direction in which I had started, and which I had found easier. So, I started a basis for this, and it became my plan to try to continue this next week’s studio day.


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