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Sunday, January 1, 2012

On my to-do list

10" custom tree-top angel of bleached cane with an ivory body, head and hand carved wings, by Maggie Silva.
This isn't something I am technically working on YET! I have had the supplies to make this tree-top angle for years and have just never gotten around to making it (I actually have the materials to make two!). My Nantucket basket-style angel will actually have a body of cherry wood, a face and halo of Corian and wings of carved wood with a dress woven of yet to be determined materials. While ivory (legally obtained of course) would be nice, it would add about a $1,000 to my supply list!

I am hoping by posting this it will guilt me into actually working on it. I will post photos of the completed project or maybe some in process. If I can just sit down and get is started it won't take that long. There really isn't much weaving on it.

As a point of reference if you don't know what a regular Nantucket basket looks like, here is one that I made.

9" Oval Nantucket Basket
7" x 9" x 5" w/o handle


  1. Oh My Gosh! I can't imagine the basket let alone the angel! Man this is so incredible!! On the Nantucket above how long would you say it takes? It's just beautiful!


  2. Ovals are harder than rounds because the staves (the elements that run vertically) have to be tapered differently as you move around the diameter of the basket. OK, let me start over. So the spacing between the staves should remain consistent from the top of the rim to the the base. To accomplish this the staves must be narrowed as they curve into the much smaller base. On a round basket every stave is exactly the same since the curve of the basket is the same all the way around the diameter. Now, on an oval the curve of the basket changes as you move around the circumference. So, the taper changes as you move around the basket as well, you go from no taper on the long sides to very narrow on the short ends. Basically the basket can be divided into 4 quadrants, so once you figure out the first you just have to match the other 3.

    OK, that was probably WAY more information than you wanted, but since this is a learning/sharing blog I figured I would give you the whole nickle tour.

    To give you the short answer the angle will be easier since it is basically a very narrow round basket. The trick will be that, to make the spacing of the staves consistent from the angle's waist to shirt hem, the tapering will almost have to be on the entire length of the stave. I will just do a bit of measuring and make a template and adjust as needed. I usually like a space of about 2mm between each stave.

    If you would like to see some baskets in process visit my website and check out the workshop photos (in the Martha Wetherbee workshops we make Nantuckets).

  3. Tony, do you teach classes? If so sign me up! I've tried my hand using round reeds. I believe that's what it's called. I enjoyed doing it. Would love to really learn how to make a basket.

    Hey, you are in St. Louis right? My Aunt and Uncle live in Kirkwood. Aunt passed away this year, but she used to teach at Kirkwood Junior or Community College??

    Thanks for your post man!

  4. Jim, I used to teach a lot, but haven't in the last 7 years probably. That was about the time I bought my house, the two places I taught got out of the business and I took a break that just kept on going. I do host classes here in St. Louis with visiting nationally known teachers. I usually hold about two classes a year. I am just now working on my 2012 schedule. I will post the classes here when I get them lined up.

    Sorry to hear about your Aunt's passing. Kirkwood is just a hop skip and a jump from me.