Friday, February 06, 2015

Making a new fruit basket in Escriño style


For a couple of years now I have been on the look out for a new fruit bowl, ever since our last one got broken (but it was recycled and re-fashioned into a birdbath). You might think this is an easy task but the ones I saw were either too fragile for their size, too small, the wrong colour, too deep or just not up to the job. In fact we have been using an antique plate originally designed for meat. As my quest for the perfect fruit bowl grew tiresome, Luis offered to make one in Escriño style using rye straw and rattan...perfect. This meant I could commission the correct size, depth and shape.


We have featured Escriño baskets before when Luis learnt how to make them on a short course in Palencia. That time it was a bread basket, this time something more substantial was required. We eat a lot of fruit throughout the year including commercially bought, home-grown and foraged so we needed something that was sturdy, strong and capable of holding substantial amounts.



Escriño is an old tribal craft technique that binds together straw, grasses or pine needles with either strips of willow, rattan or any other binding material. This style of basket can be found in all parts of the world including Africa, South America and Asia. This small basket (below) is from Luis' brother Oscar who brought us it as a gift from Venezuela, of similar construction but much smaller and finer.



The rye straw was grown by Luis' family and the binding he would use was rattan cane he uses for bergere chair weaving. The spiral of straw is measured by a gauge made from a cut-off thimble. The shape is formed as the spiral of straw is woven. The final weave is finished off with a rattan weave that adds a design element and added strength to the basket. These baskets are seriously strong and are rock solid once completed. The technique looks relatively easy but it takes a lot of patience and skill to produce anything worthy of display.



After many hours weaving his magic, sometimes on a sunny terrace sometimes in the workshop or even the lounge, we now have a wonderful, perfectly formed and functional fruit basket that should last for many, many years. Now to plant the seed that we need a new waste bin for the bedroom.....




5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Many thanks, I'm pleased you like it. Luis

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  2. I love how the weave is so tight and neat - some of my fruit baskets are really loose and don't have that intricate work like yours. Admired and respected.

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