Twisting and interlocking

My fascination with Möbius strips continues. Although the first triple-twist loop I made was rather small, I have a friend with very slim wrists, so it proved to be the perfect birthday gift!

I then went on to make a slightly larger version, this time wrapping with paper yarn, which produced a much stiffer piece than wrapping with wool.

triple mobius loop

Some of the yarn I dyed with indigo and onion skins.

triple mobius loop

What next? Obviously it was time to try interlocking Möbius strips (but with only one twist in each!). 😉

I did a paper mock up of how this might look.

interlocking paper mobius strips

Then I set to work. Previously I had used both wire and paper yarn as the core, but I now decided to try using wire on its own.

interlocking mobius wip

However, without the paper yarn, the wire on its own provided less grip for the wrapping, which tended to slip more. The piece also had less body. So I went back to including paper yarn in the core.

interlocking mobius wip

I also found that the initial slippier core meant that the parts of the strips that were supposed to be flat started to curl over at the edges. (This was probably also caused by too much tension when wrapping on my part.) Although this was not intentional, I actually liked the increased movement caused by the curling, so I didn’t try to correct it.

interlocking mobius

As a result, the final piece of interlocking Mobius strips doesn’t look anything like the paper mock up! But I’m OK with that.

interlocking mobius strips

And now for something completely different – well, almost

A couple of months ago I signed up for an online course with Australian basketmaker Catriona Pollard. The course was on making sculptural basketry with found wood, as I was really interested in finding out how to incorporate found objects such as wood into my work.

However, finding suitable pieces of wood was a bit tricky in the middle of London in August. There were alternatives I considered, but in the end I just started on the sculptural part, which involves twining.

I soon found out that twining with paper yarn produces a satisfying (for me) twist. So I’ve decided to go ahead without the wood for now and see what happens.

sculptural twining

I have no plan for this – I just decided to start with five “arms”, like a starfish, and see how it developed. Sometimes they come together, sometimes they wind over or under each other, depending on how I feel. At the moment it’s fairly symmetrical, though it may not look like that in the photo.

Although twining is a different technique from coiling, I’m enjoying exploring how to achieve similar twisting and interlocking effects. Let’s see how it goes!

Tiny open weave twined baskets

As a break from precise geometric work, I was aching to have a go at something a little less rigid. Then I saw that Christi York, whom I follow on Instagram, had produced some videos on making open weave baskets.

Her baskets were made from peeled, split ivy (she’s also produced videos showing how to do this). However, I had a go at this but totally failed to split the ivy evenly. (I’ve had similar problems with trying to split willow.)

So I thought I would use some cane leftover from making my cane platter. I’m afraid I didn’t take any photos as I went along not enough hands! 😉  Here’s the result – it’s about 10cm (4 inches) high.

cane garlic basket cane garlic basket

I decided to add a handle on one side so it could be hung up – maybe for keys or a couple of bulbs of garlic.

cane garlic basket

As Christi says in the videos, cane is very regular, which makes it easy to use. So I decided to make another one with more irregular material – cordyalis cordyline leaves.

cordyalis leaves

I have a cordyalis cordyline plant in the back garden – I’m not sure where it came from, as it wasn’t there when we moved in and I’m pretty sure I didn’t plant it! But its leaves are very strong for basketry. They fall off naturally, but sometimes I remove them from the trunk when they have gone brown. I soak them for about an hour in warm water and then wrap them in a towel to mellow overnight.

Here’s the cordyalis cordyline version.

cordyalis garlic basket cordyalis garlic basket

This is even smaller than the cane basket – about 7cm (3 inches) high and 6cm (2.5 inches) across. I used the same number of stakes (9) for each.

Here you can see them together.

two garlic baskets

It was very relaxing to make something more freeform – it was also relatively quick!

Edited to say: Got the name of the plant wrong – should be cordyline, not cordyalis. Goodness knows where that even came from!