Random Weaving with Grapevine
A New Technique for Weaving any Objects
What is Random-Weave?
Random-weave is a technique for weaving baskets that follows no discernible pattern, and thus appears to be random. Using all kinds of materials, you start with an initial loop of vines or bark. The final product looks like a flurry of materials overlapping and criss-crossing in a random way to create a finished shape.
How to use the random-weave technique:
1. Gathering your materials:
The first step is to collect your materials to weave. I use everything from strips of bark and vines to copper wire - the opportunities are endless, but you do need rigid materials that will hold shape.
2. Start with a loop of grapevine.
Use on vine and loop it into a complete circle.
3. Add in some structural vines.
Using that initial loop, loosely wrap other materials or vines and let them dangle. Keep some grapevine, at least five to ten strands, hanging. You will use these to form the shape of the basket.
4. Add in whatever weavers you want.
This is the part when you can weave in whatever materials you want to use for your vessel or basket. Whenever you weave one in, make sure to tuck in both ends as to increase the tension in the basket and to ensure that the pieces stay in place when the basket dries.
5. Keep weaving!
As you continue to add in more weavers, the vessel will become tighter and tighter filling in the gaps in the basket. You can leave parts open or fill them up as much as you want and possibly can.
6. Finishing touches.
After letting your basket dry, you can add any finishing touches you'd like. I sometimes add wax or sealants to protect the baskets forever!
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.