Author Topic: the last basket maker and basket weaver.  (Read 8034 times)

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Offline dimitris

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the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« on: October 06, 2019, 11:58:06 AM »
Today we had a special visitor-street trader that soon his type of business will disapear. his speciality is hand-weaving baskets made of local bamboo and Myrtus plant .
He is ne of the last artisans of Corfu that I know who hand makes these basket today.
I had met him in Cofu town in March and topld them to come and see me in Arillas so I bought some baskets from him that will we use in the restaurant for the next generations...

These Baskets represent essential artifacts of  rural corfu  societies, which are both traditional and modern and are still used in villages for everyday life activities. In urban areas, by contrast, baskets are mostly used for  decorative purposes.
Nevertheless, even in villages, traditional  baskets have to a large extent been  replaced by industrially made containers,  usually plastic. This is because their  construction has been made more difficult in our days due to raw materials becoming  more scarce and less readily available. As  a result, baskets are not used to the extent they were used in pre-industrial times, and  basket weaving is now a traditional craft .

archaeological excavation in the island of Santorini, three young girls put in baskets the crocus flowers to be offered  to the goddess. Homer refers explicitly  to baskets weaved with rush (formoi) or  with sticks (kofinoi) for storing grapes.

Also in classical times, the Caryatids in  the front of Erechtheum in Acropolis, bear  baskets on their heads (kalathifores). Baskets continue to have a distinct  presence in the daily life and economic  activity during more recent historical periods. For example, in the 16th century  the prices of agricultural products are set  on the basis of the capacity of a basket:  in the island of Lesbos one basket of  almonds is worth 9 aspra (currency unit at that time). The use of the basket, as a  common traditional artifact, spread across 
the Mediterranean before and after the  industrial revolution, serving as a model or  typical motif in different crafts as well, such  as pottery and decoration of ceramic pots.

Use at home
Cutlery basket, bread basket (kalathi-artoforio or artokofino). Small basket for keeping weaving tools
(weaved with hay); or coated with clay for  storing and conserving wheat. Laundry basket (bougadokofino). Basket with lid to keep dirty linen

A weaved muzzle (moustroucha in the  Cretan dialect) was also used in animals  (horses, donkeys) working in agricultural  activities, in order to protect the crops.
Galiki for watermelons is the largest  basket with a capacity of around 60 kilos.  Two galikia make up an animal’s load.  Kofa which is narrower that galiki, can  take up to 70 kilos and is not carried by  an animal but transported with a cart or a coach.

Building construction use
Stone-baskets or Zebilia, weaved baskets
to carry stones and rubble.
Ceremonial use
The so called bridegroom’s baskets or  kanistra, for the wedding rice, the turnovers
(in Kalamata), the ceremonial gifts but also  for the  bread blessed by the priest.

Raw materials
Plant and tree branches: cane, bulrush,  wicker, willow, wild olive tree, hazel tree  timber, rush, palm leaves, straw, flax, grass,  internal tree rind, etc.

Reed and wicker are mostly used at present,  whilst instead of bulrush which cannot be  found easily anymore, bamboo cane and  other imported materials are used.

Then the reed is cut in narrow strips with  a sharp knife and in even narrower sticks  with a wooden cutter; these strips are then  woven in circles around the base of the  basket so as hold the vertical sticks.  Wicker, stripped of its bark or solid, is  mostly used for the base of the basket  in order to make it stronger; it is usually  woven in the shape of a cross. The sticks  that form the shape are tied crosswise. A  set of reed sticks are stuck on the base  and curbed upwards to form a cylinder.  Horizontal reed sticks are knitted tightly  around this cylinder to form the main body  of the basket.

Dimitris Kourkoulos
Brouklis Str 7
Arillas 49081
Corfu Greece
+30 26630 51418
Brouklis Taverna
The 10 things you don't know about Arillas

Offline Sandy x

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Re: the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2019, 12:36:43 PM »
Really interesting Dimitri....thank you for posting!
Sandy x

Offline Ann K

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Re: the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 12:41:26 PM »
This is very interesting and hopefully, the tradition will continue, especially given that we are now looking for ways to enhance our planet and not destroy it.  True artists are few and far between but perhaps if each one could train another person ………. who knows?  Not just in Corfu but everywhere.
Ann x

Offline soniaP

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Re: the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 04:56:30 PM »
I love baskets.  No jokes Eggy. Seriously though they are do much nicer than plastic. Thanks for sharing.

Offline Eggy

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Re: the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 07:14:00 PM »
Sonia , I cannot make light of this as my respect for the skill linked with tradition is too great. - Wish I could have the patience to acheive this.
Be Well

Offline RIL8

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Re: the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2019, 10:45:17 PM »
We have always admired the local craft work in The whole of Greece and other places we have visited but well done to Dimitris for flagging this one up for us all to see. Just on a lighter note was that you eggy giving out doggy treats from the boot of the Punto when we was having a late afternoon tipple at the Marina pool bar decking ??

Happy days

Ril8 n of course Mrs Ril8

Offline Eggy

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Re: the last basket maker and basket weaver.
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 06:29:27 PM »
Reckon it twas , cause I am a softy at heart!!