Monday, January 13, 2014

An Introduction to 17th C Beaded Baskets

   17th c beaded or bead work baskets are made from one main ingredient~ seed beads.  They have been labeled as 'Christening Baskets' by some, but in my research, most likely used as presentation baskets~ for a special occasion, like a wedding or having a child...and are purely decorative. They would not have held anything in them. Some are made entirely of seed beads strung over wire, others have beads applied to a silk satin background fabric and stitched over the frame...while others are made entirely of flat woven beads.  The Met's basket above has a bottom with beads stitched onto a silk satin background, while the sides are made up of beads strung on wires to make marvelous three dimensional fruits and flowers~ you can learn more about it here
  The majority are rectangular in shape, the like Braganza Basket at the Met Museum in NY in the first picture, but there are ovals too, like this cutie patuti from the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.

 You can go here to explore the Burrell Collection

   Whatever the shape, they all have key aspects in common~ a wire basket frame is made, then covered with beads, entirely, so no wire can be seen. Beaded embellishments are then applied by wiring to the frame, until the entire thing is covered.  The trefoil shape handles are also common, and a feature that I really adore~
   the above basket was just acquired by the Holburne Museum in Bath, you can read more about it here

This last basket is one in the Corning Museum of Glass  and one of my favorites. It looks at first glance similar to the majority of the early 17th c beaded baskets, but in fact has several unique features in its construction.  I have scoured and scoured, and have only found one other extant period basket that utilizes the same construction techniques~ which I will be touching a bit on in my next post


Barbara Brown said...

These baskets are awesome!! Can't wait to see your "special" post!!!!
LY, Mom

Rachael Kinnison said...

m.u.s.t. have patience! lol

Barbara Brown said...

I'm trying!!!