In the first year of our City Lit basketry course we had a module on working with cane (rattan), where we had to make a cane platter inspired by a landscape feature. Mine was inspired by mountain ridges and valleys. I later went on to make another one in just two colours, to emphasise the pattern more.
When wondering what to do for my rigid assessment piece, I came across some of Haeckel’s illustrations of coral – hexacorallia and tetracorallia – that have radial symmetry and had an Aha! moment.
I thought I could build on the technique I used for my platter to make a 3D piece, inspired by these works by Joe Hogan and Ritsuko Jinnouchi.
I made a couple of samples to test out the star start, decide which size cane to use, and practise the shaping.
Then on to the actual piece. I decided to use a much thinner cane initially to pair up the stakes in the base, before moving onto thicker cane for weaving. To try to create a ridged structure (where the green stripes protrude while the natural stripes are flatter) I used two different thicknesses of cane (2mm and 2.5mm).
I added stakes in pairs to keep the branching pattern going. Increasing the number of stakes like this wasn’t a problem, as I had done this on the platter. It was more challenging when it came to decreasing the number of stakes, as they were quite far apart and I wanted to avoid unsightly gaps.
Then it was a round of waling followed by a 3-rod border and follow-on border.
Only a week to go now before our exhibition! If you’re in London you’re very welcome to visit – details below. Before that we have to face our final assessment this Thursday…