Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Special breed of 17th c Beaded Basket....

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY ~Accession no.  53.2.4

    This basket is a breed of it's own, I have found just one other that is made similar, located in the U.K.  No provenance is known for this basket, it was purchased from a dealer by the Museum in 1953.  In 1972, the entire Museum was flooded up to the second floor~ many pieces were lost and damaged, this basket being one of them. It was literally encased in mud, and both Ladye & Gentleman's hair were lost.  ( Its actually quite an interesting read if you go to the Museum link, you can read all about the flood)

 There are several things that make this basket unique, the first one that stood out to me, was the trellis like white bead work covering the basket itself.  The majority of the other beaded basket frames of this era (17th century) are wrapped solid with beads in a spiral direction....(think of a barber pole).  I really liked how delicate and light it looked~ very feminine.  And what a treat, one can see the actual basket frame....or can you?
  I have left the photos large so you can enjoy the details~ so please do click on the pictures to enlarge!  I have studied and studied the pictures I have, and while it does look like the frame is wrapped in cloth, I cannot be 100% sure that it is not the frame showing, and the wonderful brown color is not actually rust. (I have emailed the Museum several times with no reply as of yet) This was no bother to me, as I already had my mind set on how I was going to do up my own basket.   Besides a good view of the frame, the above picture is of one of my favorite panels, foxgloves. This at first looks like an absolute nightmare, but it being so disheveled actually showed a lot of how the individual flowers were constructed....which brings me the the  most fascinating and wonderful thing about this basket~ all the motifs...the leaves, the flowers, the people, the birds, the butterflies.....all made on wire forms.
 On this panel of roses you can clearly see the wire shapes of the large petals, their beads now missing. Actually, the two large flowers in back are also missing their second layer of petals that the center front rose still retains, tho they are all smooshed forward.   For the majority of the motifs, wires were bent to the desired shape, then seed beads were woven within the shape to fill it solid. Some things, like the peaches, were made more like traditional stumpwork, with woven beads covering a shaped card base, and then stuffing added to give a 3 dimensional shape.
  Perhaps it was the fact that so many panels looked like this~ just a mess! Beads missing, parts of flowers going every which way. How sorrowful it all looked to me. I wanted to see what this basket looked like when it was made~ when all the flowers and the vases and birds and butterflies were complete. Like I have said before, there was no question in my mind. No hesitation. I had  to make a basket like this.
      And so, it began....


dragonjools said...

The beading around the supports almost looks like a rigid chain when you look quickly. I wonder if that was intentional - or a happy accident?

Robin said...

This post is especially helpful. Thanks.

"Just do it" wins another round!

Robin said...

Bravo! This story makes me happier than anything I've read/seen/heard in a very looooooong time!

The wool wrap, to give something to needle into, was a stroke of genius!