This is a guest post by Brian Kaller, who blogs at Restoring Mayberry.
Baskets have been replaced by plastic and other kinds of factory-made containers in almost every area of life, appearing today mainly as twee Easter decorations. Making them has become synonymous with wasting time – “basket-weaving” in the USA is slang for an easy lesson for slow students.
The craft of basketry, however, might be one of our species’ most important and diverse technologies, creating homes, boats, animal traps, armour, tools, cages, hats, chariots, weirs, beehives, shelters and furniture, as well as all manner of containers. Basket weaving makes use of fast-growing biodegradable materials -- branches, twigs or shoots -- that requires the forest to be cultivated rather than cleared. Basketry allows almost anyone, with little or no money and few tools, to create a large variety of useful goods in a way that is one hundred percent sustainable.