Material Values

Lois Walpole (Artist)

Material Values

This paper looks at the use of recycled synthetic materials and post consumer  waste in traditional basket making today and suggests that their use may in various ways help to preserve traditional skills improve the income of some makers and add to the already vast range of basket making techniques

Starting with an analysis of the circumstances that are leading basket makers all over the world to use post consumer waste this paper goes on to examine, with the aid of specific examples from various regions of the world, how the use of recycled synthetic materials can dramatically change both the functionality and appearance of traditional basket forms. 

In those parts of the world where the making and use of baskets may have declined or disappeared due to changing ways of life the alteration of the appearance and functionality of a basket can provide a new market for the work and may as a consequence  help to preserve traditional skills which might otherwise be lost. This is particularly relevant in places where the available natural materials that were traditionally used  have for various reasons become diminished or in urban situations where there are no traditional basket materials and few skilled makers but  where the making of baskets with recycled materials is becoming a vital means to earning a living.

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