It’s Monday morning, bright and early, and I’m off to Strathfield on the train where Nick is picking me up. Today is the day of the Aboriginal Grass Weaving workshop which is being held as part of NAIDOC with Kerrie Kenton facilitating.
|Kerrie Kenton holding an
armful of Lamandra Grass
Kerrie is an Aboriginal artist. I must apologise to her and to you that I cannot give you her Aboriginal name – it sounds amazing but there is no way that I can remember any of it – it is SOOOOOOOO long!
We were making traditional baskets woven using Lamandra Grass which grows like wildfire in Australia. The grass we were using had been supplied by the Ranger of the local council. The blades of grass don’t look much like grass – they are longer and thicker than the grass we use for lawns. Each blade is split into three, five or seven strands, using something like a drawing pin or the pins that are used in cork boards.
You begin with three strands of about equal length and one long strand which is tied at its thin end around the halfway point of the other three strands. The three strands are then bent in half and held to the right and the single strand is held to the left. You have to work five blanket stitches along the fold blades, from left to right, using the thicker, paler end as the needle. When five blanket stitches have been made you have to put the ‘needle’ end of the single strip of grass into the loop at the end of the three grasses which was made when you folded them in half. You then form a loop from the piece where you made the five blanket stitches (as you would do when crocheting). Turn the circle around so that the bundle of grasses goes out to the left. Then work around that circle making blanket stitches that catch the lengths of grass around the loop. Working this part creates the base of the basket.
|Working blanket stitches around the
circle to create the base
When the base is the right size, begin working the sides in the same way but pushing in from the edge of the circle to force those edges upright. Continue working until the basket is the desired size.