We recently had the fence between our front garden and that of our neighbour replaced, as it was in a sorry state. Sadly, many of the climbers and plants close to the fence did not survive the operation, but it also turned out that our neighbour’s garden was home to an incredible amount of bindweed, which of course I offered to rescue. 🙂

As I sat on the doorstep pulling off the leaves and coiling it into bundles I did get some strange looks from the builders. But when working with foraged fibres you often have to develop a thick skin and certain level of shamelessness!

And it is very satisfying when you can turn a hated weed into a thing of beauty.

Something that had been hanging around much longer in my fibre collection was an inflorescence (flower stalks and bracts) from a cordyline tree. I’ve often looked with envy at the enormous inflorescences of the bangalow palm used by Australian basketmakers such as Catriona Pollard to make random weave sculptures. The cordyline inflorescence is tiny by comparison, and it seemed very brittle, so I wasn’t sure how well it would work.

Surprisingly, after soaking for only about 10 minutes it was wonderfully pliable. The knobbly flower bracts made weaving a bit tricky, and many of them fell off, but they did help hold the strands in place and added extra texture.

Because the strands are relatively short, the weaving had to be fairly dense. I didn’t take any photos as I went along – too engrossed in weaving! – but here’s the end result.

Now that it’s dried again it feels fairly fragile. But it is a salutary reminder that with basketry it is always worth having a go with whatever local materials you have to hand.

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