Patricia’s handcrafted basket (Agaseke)


Tapestry needle, raffia, willow reed

According to Patricia, starting the basket “is the most difficult step.”

She begins her basket with a bundle of 8 natural colored, very thin willow reeds  that have been soaked in warm water. 

She tapers the ends of the reed bundle and knots a single raffia strand about an inch from the  end and wraps the raffia tail back toward the end.

Turning the end onto itself (forming a U) she binds the two together to form the first coil.  Using a wide eyed needle, careful to keep the raffia flat, she stitches thru the circle and around  the back side of the coil.. 

This is the start of the flat spiral. 

Holding the spiral in her left hand, she gently bends the reed and continues to wrap and tightly  stitch to enlarge the coil base, leaving small gaps between stitches,

Building the bowl

Patricia places the last base coil on top of the previous row and continues to enlarge the bowl,  slowly building up the height of the basket. 

As she draws the needle under the coil and up towards her there is a steady rhythm to her  stitches.  

The iconic geometric patterns are created by overlapping the two end strands of colored raffia. Once she determines the height of the agaseke, Patrisiya completes the bowl by cutting the  reed at an angle so it tappers down toward the the last full coil. 

She continues to wrap and stitch and finishes the rim by pulling the raffia back thru the last few  stitches. 

Elongated sloped conical lid

Starting with the first coil and working down from the peak, Patricia slowly increases the coils  of the lid to fit the dimension of the bowl. 

A new strand is added by blunt cutting the ends of both pieces of raffia, laying the new strand  on top and continuing to wrap and tightly stitch.

About a quarter of an inch from the end of the lid, Patrisiya tapers the ends of the reed, wraps  and stitches the raffia to the final coil.