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Swing Top Handle Basket is a traditional ash splint basket by Wales-based artist Michelle Mateo. Using long-established hand skills and techniques, a huge part of her ethos is to work off-grid with hand tools, using only hardwood that is locally sourced, from sustainably managed woodlands as part of a natural thinning and woodland regeneration process. From log to basket, Michelle has an intimate relationship with every part of the process which is reflected in each basket.
This basket is made entirely from hand pounded ash, has a steam bent ash handle, and is woven with a double bottom base. This basket won Michelle the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers 2022 first prize traditional category.
Material: Pounded Ash
cm: Length 20.3cm, Width 20.3cm, Height 17cm (not including handle)
inches: Length 8in, Width 8cm, Height 6.7in (not including handle)
Care Instructions: Dust with a feather duster
Pounding the ash log to get the ash splints originally comes from the Native people of northeastern United States and southeastern Canada where they used black ash (Fraxinus nigra) to create their baskets. To get the splints, you pound a fresh log methodically until the growth rings start to delaminate into strips. These are then processed by hand into the correct widths and thicknesses ready for weaving. As black ash only grows in Northern America, Michelle is one of the few people in the UK who have used this technique with a native ash (Fraxinus excelsior).