(This is the first in a intermittant series of articles on basket-making books.)
There is a story I have told many times of how I began my basket-making journey. It begins over a half-century ago in arts and crafts classes in an elementary school in the little English village of Cheddleton (near Leek, Staffordshire). There, at the age of nine or ten, the class was introduced to basket-making. My twin brother, Frank, and I, as competative as ever tried to outdo each other in making the biggest and best basket. Soon the school's supply of basket-making materials was threatened with exhaustion. My elder sister, Mary, was the recipient of a large sewing basket (which she has no recollection of receiving!)
Many years later, I recalled this episode of basket-making in conversation with my wife, Anne, as we talked about what we could do after I retired. "Perhaps I should do more than golf and garden?" That Christmas the book shown here appeared as a Christmas gift under the tree. That is the book that rekindled my interest in basket-making and put me on the present path of being a basket-maker.
The book, Basket Making, by Olivia Elton Barratt, was published in 1990 by Charles Letts and Co. Ltd , London, England. It is a broad introduction to a variety of basket-making styles: cane basket making, willow basket making, straw boater making etc. It is filled with examples of the basket maker's craft and is a good book for inspiration.