“ Great art picks up where nature ends.”
One of my favorite things to do when we are up north during the Spring is to collect little twigs, flowers , and leaves from the forest. I love to use natural items when decorating my homes for Spring.
All the colors, beautiful flowers, leaves, twigs, cones…so much to discover out there in nature to create art with. After a day of foraging , once back inside Our Little Red House for a quiet evening, I think about all the beautiful things I will create with my basket full of treasures from nature.
Every area we explore out there, every a step is always different from the one before
Depending on the time you go for the walks, the lights and patterns change as well.
Today’s project has to do with my fascination with baskets. Growing up as a child, baskets weren’t just for Easter in my home. They are perfect ways to give gifts to others. Instead of having paper and a box to throw away, a basket can be used over and over again.
Around Our Little Red House we have Morning Glory growing everywhere. From Spring to Summer the purple flowers are so pretty when in bloom. It frames the house like a cozy blanket from nature.
Morning glory vines are perfect for making tiny nest baskets.
The native Americans used to create all kinds of things from their natural environments to use in their everyday lives. These skills were passed down from one generation to the next. They would design outdoor kitchens to cook in using items from dead cacti shells, trees and other desert plants.
They built their homes, gardens and even designed baskets to carry their supplies in…all from nature. Oh, the good old days. Not saying we need to go back to the sticks and stones days, but we could learn a lot in the simplicity of days gone by. Every human being on this planet would benefit if they took mini breaks now and then from the advancements of the 21st century. Using their hands to build their own products, how can that be a bad skill to have. Right now I am watching a vlogger build a log cabin with his own hands, so interesting to me.
So fun walking outdoors and discovering so many beautiful supplies on the ground to dry and collect for art projects, just like they did many years ago. You can even use plants to make watercolors with when painting. Connecting with our natural environment helps us not only learn to respect it more but to appreciate it as well.
After a trip to Our Little Red House during the Spring months (mostly a time to air out and clean the place for the summer months) I always come back to the city with a huge supply of art supplies from nature. This is also something I do in the Fall, right before we close up Our Little Red House for the Winter months.
I can’t wait to start creating with my supplies once I am back in the city.
To make these tiny bird’s nest baskets, first you need to remove all the leaves from your morning glory vines or any vines you have collected.
Gather four vine strands in two groups and criss cross them together.
Then find a long vine strand to use to weave around the four divided groups you have created from the criss crossing of 8 vine strands. Once divided in groups of four, you will end up with four groups to weave around. This will create the bottom base of the basket to eventually weaving each individual strand that will total 16 strands to weave through up the sides.
Once you are happy with the size of the bottom width you can start weaving strands up the sides to start creating your basket’s shape. When you run out vine while weaving just tuck strand into side and start a new vine strand to weave with where the last strand ended.
Keep weaving up the sides until you get to the desired size you want.
It will start looking more and more like a basket the more you weave.
Every once in awhile check the basket size to make sure you don’t weave too much, otherwise you will have a very long narrow shape of a basket.
Once finished, trim the tops of the strands a little.
Then tuck in and weave around top base of basket to finish off.
Now you have a cute little nest basket to display around your home for the Spring. After a few days your baskets will harden and dry out more. They make adorable little nests to display clay or faux Easter eggs in. You can also gift family, friends, or neighbors with these tiny baskets filled with faux moss and colorful foiled wrapped chocolate eggs.
Hope you all enjoyed this DIY from nature’s gifts. Remember to always look up your areas laws when foraging outdoors. Some places allow items to be picked up and cleaned from the forest areas but some plants are protected. You can also forage on your land or ask permission from friends and neighbors that have huge land and property to explore on. If in the city, you will have to get a little more creative buying fresh flowers and plants that produce art supplies for you to create with. Happy nature crafting everyone.
Tip for homeschooler’s out there- Look up the artist from the quote I posted up above. There is a lot of history in his life. A Jewish painter that barely made it out of World War two with his wife before things got really bad. He lived one of those lives that would make a great mini series someday, if the right story tellers told it that is
ASD tips- This craft is a difficult one. You will have to hand over hand weaving techniques with your children to help them grasp the concept of what you are doing, just to show them. Then finish out the baskets yourself. Once done your children can help fill the baskets with treats and help you pick spots to decorate their rooms and homes with. All of this helps your child feel included and builds confidence. Going out to collect supplies is a great way to work in gross and fine motor play skills. Touching the different textures that nature supplies is a great sensory experience for your children. Roll out clay egg shapes using air drying clay, then watercolor your clay eggs once dry. This craft lesson covers a lot when working with all levels of children, just adjust it to fit their levels and needs when it comes to a sensory and a play diet. Remember, have fun and the learning part will be an added bonus without anyone realizing it.