We will be heading to Indiana soon for the Stateline Convention so Mr. Basketmaker has been busy in his workshop.
Below, he just pulled a strip of Ash through his knife slitters and is trimming off the “grip” edge (what he uses to hold on to as he’s pulling the material through).
Now he has a new set of materials. Just looking at this image, I would say they are Weavers. But he let me know that this batch are Uprights for his mini wine tote baskets.
However, before he starts trimming the uprights, he needs to run “Quality Control Checks.” Yes, even Mr. Basketmaker’s little ‘ole workshop has quality control procedures.
First, he inspects them simply by feeling with his fingers to see if they are the correct thickness, and continuous, from the edges to the middle: CHECK
Then he double checks it with a micrometer, which accurately measures the thickness down to thousands of an inch: CHECK CHECK
And then finally, he inserts the material in the base for triple insurance: CHECK CHECK CHECK!
I don’t know about y’all but this is a lot of work to make teeny tiny little uprights! I’m just saying. I feel proud that Eric provides his clients and students with one hundred percent quality, handmade materials!
Now I wish he would’ve did this “triple check quality control thing” before we special ordered our door. That’s a post for another day.
Two weeks ago I showed you a pile of molds Mr. Basketmaker was working on for the Cottage Gardener basket he is teaching in Michigan and Georgia over the next few weeks.
This week, he was working on materials for the same basket, but this time the handles and feet. On a side note, see that wood brush there? I love that it is in this picture and Eric is using it. Why? Because it used to be my parent’s work tool! They were printed circuit board designers and before computers, they had to draw, by hand, all those electrical connections on large sheets of vellum and paper. And your paper’s surface had to be super clean when inking so you would use a fine brush to sweep away any dust and debris. Now Eric uses it to clean his surfaces and remove sawdust from machines.
So pretty much over the last few days it was cutting, sanding, shaping, boiling and bending. I bet some of you did not know how much work goes into making all of the materials for just ONE basket! But since he is teaching the Gardener Basket, he has to make 1 x TWENTY! And, I might add that he has four other baskets he’s teaching in the next month as well. I simply do not know how he does it.
When Eric teaches a basket that has his personally-designed ear handles (such as his pencil basket, cottage business card or mountain tubs), I get this question a lot: “How did he create those handles.?”
All I can say, is that he came up with the design about six years ago and basically, it comes down to a pencil and a piece of cherry wood. He draws the handle outline on wood and then he painstakingly cuts it out and shapes every single handle. Very time-consuming but important to point out that EVERY piece in one of Eric’s baskets or basket kits are designed and created by him. I’m still in awe of his work and his craft.