This week I’ve been working on a new ash splint pack basket commission and took a few photos along the way to show the process.
The weaving is a very simple over-one, under-one weave – all the emphasis is on matching the weight of the weavers and altering the tension to create the correct shape.
As the weaving continues, I let it dry and pack down the weavers. As it dries, the ash splint shrinks so without this packing, the weave would be loose and weak.
Once the desired height is reached, I trim the uprights and split them so they can be turned down and tucked into the weavers to lock them in place.
Here is the shape I want, a full-bellied basket with a tight base and short straight section up to the rim, all achieved by changing the tension in the weaving.
The next stage is to carve and steam bend a wooden grab handle for the top of the basket. With small pieces like this, I heat them over a pan with a cloth to hold the heat on the wood and then bend it around a simple wooden former.
An inner and outer rim are fitted and the handle notched into the inner rim. With long, thin splints, I lash the rims and handle tightly in place.
Finally, leather carry straps are attached along with a pair of splint ‘feet’ which protect the leather when the basket is on the ground. I’m proud to use UK-made leather and brass buckles which set off the ash splint beautifully.
Strong and lightweight, ash splint is a beautiful material which makes elegant and stylish baskets. My pack baskets are individually made to order and are priced at £425. If you are interested in discussing a commission, please email me for more details stevetomlin8[at]gmail.com
As well as pack baskets, I currently have a few other ash splint baskets for sale.