I spent much time thinking about the type of artwork I would enter in the competition at the Fourth World Wicker and Basketry Festival that I would be attending this summer in Nowy Tomsyl, Poland. I wanted to produce something uniquely interesting rather than just submitting another banal, conventional piece. Time marched on and the festival date drew closer, but I remained without any ideas or guidelines.
About three weeks before departure, I decided to visit my weaving mentor, Hertzel Auster. Perhaps I would find inspiration there. I noticed that he had produced four somewhat amorphous minibaskets and asked what they represented. Auster told me that he had created four chess pieces. The idea fascinated me and I made up my mind to weave chess pieces—a king and queen—as my entry in the festival competition.
I began searching for pictures of chess games, seeking ideas for the shape and form of these pieces. I decided to produce clear, straightforward, traditional pieces rather than abstract objects.
At the first stage, I planned to weave both a king and a queen, but the results differed somewhat from the original plans. I practiced at home and found that the queen took me over ten hours to complete. As we are allotted exactly 15 hours, I realized that I would not have the time to produce two pieces. At the time, I thought I could keep to my original idea by producing smaller objects. I tried weaving a queen that was 30% smaller than the original, but the result was not as precise, even though it took about eight hours to produce. I was working under pressure to complete it quickly—a condition that took its toll in accuracy. Eventually, I realized that two chess pieces were out of the question.
I chose to weave only a queen—a sound decision, because it took me 12-13 hours to complete, working comfortably without unnecessary pressure or fear.
The woven queen consists of two parts: A body and a cover section, culminating in the crown at the top, as shown in this photograph:
And here are several pictures of my artistic works at the festival:
A wave-tossed ship bears treats inside
And sends its cargo far and wide
About a year ago, I began examining various possibilities for interweaving date stalk clusters.
One particularly popular, simple ...
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