May 132012

Kapaa Middle School Art students loved creating forms with clay, so I thought we would try another 3-dimensional project introducing a completely different medium. I learned this coiling technique from my middle school Art teacher, and it has stuck with me through all of these years! We used simple clothesline for the baskets’ interior core structure, simultaneously wrapping it with colorful yarn to create patterns, and coiling from the center outwards to create the overall form. A paperclip was used to stitch the yarn through each coil and fasten it in place. Instead of yarn, raffia, sweetgrass, or even long pine needles can be used to achieve a more natural look.

The main themes for this project included visual and physical rhythm, radial symmetry, and 3-dimensional form. Most students seemed to really like this project, and some of them even worked outside of class to make additional handles and lids. The final critique was conveniently scheduled to fall just before Mothers’ Day!

 Posted by at 4:30 pm

  5 Responses to “Coil Baskets”

  1. Is there a tutorial or directions to make these wonderful baskets – I would like to tie this to an upcoming math lesson.

  2. A Google search for “coil basket instructions” will bring up several different sites with picture or video tutorials. This can be a great interdisciplinary lesson… we talked about diameter, radius, and volume in the process of making our baskets.

  3. What age group do you think this is appropriate for? I have a very mature 5th/6th grade group I would like to attempt this with….

  4. I think 5th and 6th graders could definitely be successful with the yarn baskets. The tricky part is starting the center… my 7th & 8th (and even high schoolers) struggled a bit at first, but it gets easier as you go. It might be good to have some extra hands on deck (like parent volunteers) to help them get started on the first day or so until they catch on.

  5. My students make these every year. It is a real exciting project for my 8th graders to look forward to. I save it for them 🙂 But I do not know how to make the patterns. Is there any particular place to look for that instruction. I know exactly how to make them with just changing colors but not the patterns. Thanks for any tips you can give me.

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