Weaving a flax planter

19 December 2016

Many people enjoy creating gifts to give to friends, family, colleagues, and strangers, rather than purchasing gifts. A gift of flax flowers as a thank you, flax containers holding home-made preserves, a little flax kete to hold a piece of jewellery, or a shredded flax tie on a parcel are all received with appreciation, from my experience.

Recently I wove a waikawa to hold some nasturtium seedlings as a gift for a fortieth birthday. The basket was made with 16 full leaves and woven with a square-base. The sides were woven up higher than the intended end height of the basket and then rolled down three times to make a firm rolled edge. A piece of hessian from the sewing kit was used to line the basket to hold the dirt in place. The basket was then filled with potting mix and the seedlings planted.

Although I used bought seedlings and potting mix, for people looking for gifts of little cost, this gift could be made at no cost, apart from your time, by using materials that are commonly found in people’s homes. The flax to weave the basket is usually a free resource, the material to line the basket can be any natural material, such as cotton or wool, that could be an old unwanted garment or towel, for example, and the seedlings could be found in any home garden. Vegetable seedlings, cacti or self-sown annuals can be easily transplanted.

Planters woven from flax don’t stay in perfect condition when left outside. The flax will fade and bleach and parts will discolour as can be seen in this pot illustrated here, which has been outside for two seasons. This container has also been squashed down which accounts for the wonky shape.

If you’d like instructions on how to weave these pots or containers, they are available in my book Weaving a Large Container from New Zealand Flax, which can be purchased directly from me.

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