The Space Within
The Space Within
The Space Within

Inspiration
This piece explores the interface between the contained space and the space inhabited by the object. It considers the history and purpose of basketry as containers and plays with the idea of purpose and function.


This work simultaneously demonstrates the purpose of baskets whilst presenting as an aesthetic object which belies that purpose. Traditionally, basket design was linked to specific functions. They created a defined space to hold specific items for storage and/or transportation. The materials used were indigenous and the processing of materials and techniques used were practical and efficient.


Following these principles, the materials used for this work are fully sustainable and grown naturally in the south of England. The processing of the material is dependent on the natural growth cycles of the plants. Once the harvested material is used up it cannot be replaced until the following year’s growth cycle. The technique of braiding is part of the English rush basketry tradition. However, the use of other common garden plants extends this technique and shows the potential of experimenting with non-traditional plant material


In Britain, looping can be traced back to Roman times. Open structures are created from one continuous length of string without the need of a tool. This allows structures to have an inherent strength and to be made when needed, simply with leaves, stems or roots and the maker’s hands.

Outline of the creative process
The plant leaves were harvested in July and August and dried thoroughly in the open air. They will be dampened again to make five strand braid and two-ply hand-made cordage.

The base of the container will be made first using iris psuedacorus leaves. The length of the braid will be stitched together to make a circle before pulling it upwards and stitched to form the sides.

When the sides are approximately 10 -15 cm high, the braiding will be replaced by 2 ply hand-made cordage made from the leaves of Sparganium americanum. This will be attached using a looping technique. The lengths of cordage will be looped to create a tight, but slightly open structure which will form the sides of the container. This cordage will be made as one continuous string.

A separate handmade string of fringed material using shredded iris psuedacorus and and Scirpus. This will be wound and stitched inside the container until it displaces the space within, pushing out the sides and appearing at the opening.

Time required to create the work
10 weeks

Handmade cordage and braid. Please note: These are natural materials which will mellow with time. Their colours will soften and any green showing usually change to a sandy, brown hue as the leaves continue to dry over time. Finished pieces often benefit from an occasional spray of plain water.   


The Space Within

Regular price
£632.50
Sale price
£632.50
Unit price
per 

By Annette Mills

Tax included and free shipping across the UK.

The price listed here is the full price, of which you pay 25% now and the remaining 75% upon receipt of the finished work.

Medium: American bur-reed, yellow flag iris and English bulrush.

Size: 33cm high, 25cm wide, 25cm deep

  • Questions or requests? Contact us here
  • Inspiration
    This piece explores the interface between the contained space and the space inhabited by the object. It considers the history and purpose of basketry as containers and plays with the idea of purpose and function.


    This work simultaneously demonstrates the purpose of baskets whilst presenting as an aesthetic object which belies that purpose. Traditionally, basket design was linked to specific functions. They created a defined space to hold specific items for storage and/or transportation. The materials used were indigenous and the processing of materials and techniques used were practical and efficient.


    Following these principles, the materials used for this work are fully sustainable and grown naturally in the south of England. The processing of the material is dependent on the natural growth cycles of the plants. Once the harvested material is used up it cannot be replaced until the following year’s growth cycle. The technique of braiding is part of the English rush basketry tradition. However, the use of other common garden plants extends this technique and shows the potential of experimenting with non-traditional plant material


    In Britain, looping can be traced back to Roman times. Open structures are created from one continuous length of string without the need of a tool. This allows structures to have an inherent strength and to be made when needed, simply with leaves, stems or roots and the maker’s hands.

    Outline of the creative process
    The plant leaves were harvested in July and August and dried thoroughly in the open air. They will be dampened again to make five strand braid and two-ply hand-made cordage.

    The base of the container will be made first using iris psuedacorus leaves. The length of the braid will be stitched together to make a circle before pulling it upwards and stitched to form the sides.

    When the sides are approximately 10 -15 cm high, the braiding will be replaced by 2 ply hand-made cordage made from the leaves of Sparganium americanum. This will be attached using a looping technique. The lengths of cordage will be looped to create a tight, but slightly open structure which will form the sides of the container. This cordage will be made as one continuous string.

    A separate handmade string of fringed material using shredded iris psuedacorus and and Scirpus. This will be wound and stitched inside the container until it displaces the space within, pushing out the sides and appearing at the opening.

    Time required to create the work
    10 weeks

    Handmade cordage and braid. Please note: These are natural materials which will mellow with time. Their colours will soften and any green showing usually change to a sandy, brown hue as the leaves continue to dry over time. Finished pieces often benefit from an occasional spray of plain water.