From one of my new favorite blogs Running With Sheep. Johan and Sanne are a couple of remarkable outdoors – bushcraft – survival enthusiasts with more than a touch of philosophy thrown in.
Their most recent project shows how to convert a run-of-the-mill thrift store find into a functional pack basket. From what I can tell, they are adept leather workers so their skill shows in this project. Re-using found objects is an excellent way to economize both money and time, especially if it is something outside your skill set or craft specialty.
Pack baskets are light and strong and a perfect choice for hauling anything from food to dirt. Prehistoric people used them for everything, and the solid structure makes them useful even when not carried on the back (most of the time).
If you can cut a few straight lines, do some minimal sewing, and hammer a rivet, this project is for you. For the complete post, head over to Running With Sheep to learn more. I suspect you’ll want to stay a while and catch up on their other posts as well.
DIY Pack Basket:
While sorting staves in the barn a long section of bark separated from a quartered trunk. While this one is not from one of the usual species used for bark containers I decided to give it a try. Bark is used as a raw material for making water resistant hats, bowls, quivers, and other containers far back into the mists of time. From at least as far back as Mesolithic Europe to Pre-Columbian America, this type of “basket” has made it’s way into the human tool kit. While this is not a tutorial proper, I took a few photos of the finished product.
The body is made from the whole bark of Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) and sewn with rawhide from deer. The rim is constructed from a mesquite shoot split, steamed into a hoop, and sewn with rawhide.
It’s not perfect and probably won’t last forever as bark can be fairly brittle over a long time but will serve to hold some demonstration goodies for quite a while.
Have a look at a simple tutorial for a similar container by Ken Peek HERE.
Bridgette and I worked on some willow basketry last week at the Echoes in Time gathering in Champoeg, Oregon. We spent the week with our friend Mick and his family with his fantastic vardo.
I have wanted a new pack basket for quite a while and the great Oregon basketmakers provided some excellent materials for the class. I only had eight students for the frame-saw class I was teaching so I was able to work in some baskets around the teaching schedule. I would have loved to document the whole process but I am such a novice that it would have taken three times as long and disrupted the flow of the basket in ways I wasn’t prepared to deal with.
Here is the first round of basket making including the base, addition of spokes, and working with weavers. The various colors come from the different willows harvested at different times. For those truly interested in the weave, this basket consists primarily of wales and rands with the addition of a rim and a foot to protect the bottom.
I’ve made a few other basketry projects under good instructors but this is, by far, my biggest effort to date. I really hope to dive into this craft more deeply sometime in the future. Enough for now, back to Making stuff (right after my nap).