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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Button, Button. Who's Got the Button?

It was one of those mornings. At about 3:15 AM, my eyes popped open and an idea popped in my head....Dumb idea, but it just might work.

For the past few days, some of my online friends have been talking about making button ATCs and the race car guy from England with the last name Button....Don't ask why. It's another one of those strange conversations that are hard to explain to someone that wasn't there...

Anyway, I imagine that was why I thought of using buttons for the bottom of miniature baskets. I have a huge button box and I will never use them all in my lifetime. At least this idea will rid me of a few more of them.

As soon as I finished breakfast, I started playing.

I grabbed a few buttons that were flat edged and a bit thick. One was a regular plastic button and the other two were odd leather ones that didn't match anything.

They are now the bottoms of miniature baskets! I used them just like I would use a Woodsie circle.
First I glued uprights to the edge. Then a band over that. I let it dry and just started twining the basket in the center with waxed linen.

When I got it to the height that I wanted, I put a top band around the outside, a handle in the center and an inner band behind that. It still needs to be trimmed a bit more and then dipped in stain, but I am very happy with the results.

The basket on the left is another one that is just started. The one on the right is upturned so that you can see the button in the bottom....Three more pesky buttons out of the box.

At this rate, I will probably be 103 before I use all of the buttons, but it's a start. Try it. It's fun!

I am still working on the beige basket. I have a few more rows done. Real life gets in the way sometimes. I am still re potting plants on the back patio.

As you can see, I still have a lot of filler cord. In the jar behind is the thread that I am using. A friend picked it up at a garage sale and gave it to me.

I think it was probably the thread from one of those old cross stitch quilt kits from the 70s. There is a great deal of thread there. I am using it double throughout the basket and I haven't made much of a dent in it yet. It may be more than one basket in the end.

Now for the fun portion of the program. I don't think that I have ever shown you my favorite antique Chinese basket. I found this panda in a thrift shop about 30 years ago.

He is woven of minute slivers of bamboo and there is no beginning or end to the weaving. No holes anywhere. He is hollow and all one piece of weaving.

He has glass eyes just like the old teddy bears and the stick in his mouth is a piece of bamboo that originally had leaves on it....It was dried up and pretty much gone when I found him. He has tiny carved claws on all of his feet.

The person that wove him must have been a most talented basket weaver. He is amazing.

Tessie climbed on his back this morning and tried to bring him to life. Evidently her charms don't work on panda baskets.

I am going back to work on the dreaded beige basket now. I may just keep working on it tomorrow as a demo piece. It is much easier to see what I am doing when I am working on a basket that size, than it is when I work on a mini one.

Back to work now.

See you tomorrow.


Drora's minimundo said...

Using buttons is a brilliant idea. Not being able to find woodsies here I use food packing foam trays. I can cut them any shape, oval, circle or square. I paint them with regular acrylic paints.

Alison said...

Amazing panda's in beautiful condition. Mind boggling, I wouldn't be able to figure that out ever.

Have a great time at the museum (is your talk this weekend?)!

Kim said...

Brilliant! I am going to have to find the time to try this one out- thanks Casey :)

Lucille said...

What a precious treasure! It must be one of a kind.

Rietje said...

Nice idea! I've a big box with buttons aswell. I'll have a try.
Thank you Casey

Andrea Thieck Miniatures said...

What a great idea. You really get to the button of things. . . LOL
I'm very curious about your "lunch box lecture". It sounds better than reading while there is formal diner going on - with all the noises from the silverware. Actors hate to do this stuff. I hope, yours will be fine - without crispy cookies or MUSTARD. Andrea

Sans! said...

Really love that panda basket!

And I like the idea of using wooden buttons for basket bases! Thank you, Casey for the tip.

Merri said...

Actually, people are pretty agreeable during a lunch lecture. They pay attention, and you won't hear that much clinking. Let us know how you fared, Casey.

LOVE that panda basket...what a treasure! Are you going to attempt to do this some day?

Wow, lookit all those buttons. Your fingers will be busy basketmaking until you're 103, LOL!

María José- islabcn said...

It's a good idea to use buttons! perhaps I can use the ones I have saved ... The baskets are great! Good work done with the panda. In my country you say ... "Chinese work" when you need patience to make something very complicated and very elaborate ... and I'm not from china, lol. Kisses for you and Tessie