This is the art of fashioning receptacles, mats and ornaments, by deftly weaving and plaiting osiers, canes, straw, grasses or other flexible materials. When osiers or canes are used they must be well steeped in water to increase their flexibility. A rough skeleton is constructed of stouter sticks and fastened with withes, and around this skeleton the basket is woven by interlacing the lighter material in conventional patterns.
In constructing a basket, the base is always completed first— wheel-fashion—and the work progresses upwards towards the top. Large skips, clothes baskets, &c, are constructed on the simplest lines, but some of the smaller and purely ornamental baskets display amazing ingenuity and originality of design.
Owing to the fact that basket-making is done primarily by touch, this is an occupation extensively engaged in by the blind.