Basketmaking is one of the oldest and most universal crafts known to man. In 2020 a basket dating to the pre-pottery, neolithic period, approximately 10,500 years ago, was discovered in the Judean desert.
Fragments of basketmaking tools have been found in Utah, dated to around 9250 BC and basket remains discovered at Fayum in Egypt dated from 8000 BC…
Basketmaking in some form can be found in nearly every culture around the world and ranges from the purely practical to the wonderfully ornate.
It is not possible to mechanise basketmaking, a basket is always made by hand.
Mass production methods in low wage economies and the use of synthetic materials resulted in the decline of skilled basketmaking in the UK during the first half of the 20th century. However, an increasing interest in sustainability, many basketmakers growing their own willow, carbon neutral production methods, local production and a greater appreciation of handmade objects has resulted in a resurgence in basketmaking.
Makers also develop new baskets and others create non-functional sculptural forms, all using the traditional techniques that have been passed down over the centuries. Basketmaking in the 21st century is very exciting.