Outdoor Heritage & Education

3 Jul 2018 | 0 comments

The origins of basket making are ancient. Although there is little archaeological evidence due to their organic nature, it would make sense that as soon as early humans started to make structures for shelter, vessels to hold, store, cook and carry with, mats and clothes, that they should utilise the readily available plant life around them.

Early humans would have held incredibly detailed mental maps of all the plants and trees growing in their landscape. Most cultures around the world used songs and art to ensure their families and friends knew where to find food, medicine, building materials and weaving materials. We can imagine families sitting together around a fire, sharing skills and knowledge; a vital element of survival.

In our present lives there are many children and adults who know little of the possibilities of the landscape we are all part of. We often find ourselves seeking short term, false gratifications, which seems to me an unfulfilling way to live our lives.

The more time that goes by and the more baskets, vessels, mats and art that Nick and I make from plant materials, and the more people we teach, certain truths and realisations come to settle in the mind.

Making objects by hand makes people feel good, particularly when they have harvested materials from the land themselves, processed them and turned them into a thing of purpose, beauty or both.

It uplifts the mind and heart, creates feelings of satisfaction and achievement, connects us with our ancestry and enables us to belong to a bigger global community.

We become part of the story of the human race on our planet. We tap into the immense global knowledge of skills and creativity which have brought us to where we are today. Sadly there are skills and knowledge that we were too slow to realise that we had lost, but we are surrounded by wonderful crafts people, artists, historians, archaeologists and anthropologists who have so much to teach us. We should all reach out with our hands and our hearts; honour our planet and our ancestors and take this knowledge forwards into our futures. We are sure to need them.

Mollie and Nick run the Field Farm Project in Hampshire, where they teach woodland crafts, field studies, farm life and horticulture. They are running basket weaving and bow making courses for us this summer and autumn.  

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