Posted by: bschutzgruber | August 16, 2017

AGWSD Summer School – Day 1 and 2

I’m taking the Soft Basketry course with Averil Otiv

Day 1
13 of us got settled into our classroom

and got a chance to see some of the baskets we might be making.

Today we would be working with two types of materials – paper and New Zealand flax to get a bit of introduction to basket making.

I was not familiar with the New Zealand flax but luckily there was on the campus so I could see what it looked like in its natural state.  The leaves Averil brought with her were about 3-5 ft long/tall.  We split the leaves into sections and began weaving.

It’s a very soft material and nice to work with.  Our end result was a New Zealand Friendship Flower.

The second project was weaving with paper.  We had painted the paper on both sides first thing so it would be dry and ready for use once we finished our NZ Friendship Flowers. We used a pasta cutter to slice strips for weaving.


I chose to make an 8 cornered basket which would have one color on the outside and another on the inside.


By the end of the day I had 4 of my 8 corners done. Since the next step involved cutting…. I did NOT take it back to my room work on it in the evening = best wait until the morning!

That evening we had a fabulous presentation by Jennie Rayment – “Twiddling, Fiddling and Texture – The Trials and Tribulations of a Traveling ‘Nipper and Tucker’ ”


Day 2

The morning first half of the morning was spent working on the second set of 4 corners of  8 corner basket and turning down the rim opening

The second half of the morning we spent breaking down and softening the NZ flax to make a 2 cornered pouch.  This was a workout on my thumbs as we scraped the flax sections over knives or scissors to soften it until it was flexible like leather strips = 12 were needed!!

The afternoon was spent weaving! Splitting the sections 1/2 way through certainly made this a ‘learning experience!


The end of the day I had 2 VERY different baskets!


In the evening we had a lecture by Rob Harvey Long “The History of Cotswold Sheep from 2000 BC” with some fascinating facts.

More to come as the week continues…..









  1. I like your choice of colours for the 8 cornered basket and the parting in the wacky hairdo of the 2 cornered one 😉

  2. Beautiful! And such fun. : )

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