A basket is usually a simple container designed to hold dry goods such as fruits and vegetables. Although most baskets today are made of plastic, wood, or wicker, baskets have been made using fabric for centuries. Historically, baskets were used to carry belongings from one place to another. Today, the primary purpose of a basket is to store food.
A variety of materials are now used in making baskets: woven fabrics, synthetic fiber, nylon, cotton, and wood. Typically, baskets are crafted from wood, but other materials like plastic, wire, and horsehair can also be used if desired. Baskets usually are crafted by hand. In some cases, automated equipment may be employed, but most basket-makers still work by hand. Even when using automated equipment, basket-makers still make several manual basket-making steps in order to ensure quality and sturdiness.
There are several types of baskets. For example, the weft basket is made by weaving lengths of cloth together. The weft basket may be a single continuous line of material or a series of distinct strips, beads, stitches, or other units. A single continuous line of material may represent the standard beaded-woven or basket-weave construction.
Basketry, on the other hand, consists of a series of interwoven or knotted strips, beads, knots, or cords of different diameters, which are used to create baskets. The materials may include synthetic fibers, such as acrylic, polyester, and polypropylene, as well as natural materials like bamboo, reed, and satin. Basketry designs may include elaborate motifs and designs made using earth-friendly products. Many modern basket-making methods employ alternative products in their production.
Many of the methods used in making baskets involve interlinking of yarn or wool; however, there are some basket-making processes that rely solely on the use of strong ropes or wire. Regardless of the process used to create the basket, the final basket typically consists of at least six to twelve evenly-sized hollow-tipped balls, which are called ‘spiders’. Basket-making tools include long and short handled pliers, a small pair of scissors, and a rotary cutter. Many modern-day basket-makers utilize technology, such as computerized programs, to help guide them through the basket-making process.
It is possible for individuals who produce their own baskets to sell or gift baskets to others. However, many people prefer to purchase their baskets online, where they can get good deals and shop in a relaxed environment. Basket-making patterns are available online, which allow anyone to produce their own custom-made baskets. Beaded-woven baskets have also become popular because they are less expensive than the mass-produced varieties.