July 12, 2021
From a single dandelion or bindweed, Suzie Grieve weaves minuscule baskets, pouches, and other wearables that are smaller than the tip of her finger. The braided vessels are the result of a lengthy, holistic process that extends from foraging the wild fibers to twisting the processed cords into durable little containers. Whether striped, checkered, or coiled in rows, each basket is a testament to Grieve’s patience and ability to adapt a traditional craft into an unusually tiny form.
Attuned to the natural rhythms of the region, Grieve harvests materials from the woodlands and fields near her home in the Lake District, U.K., with a focus on the weeds and invasive species that are often regarded as nuisances. “One of the things I enjoy most about working with wild foraged materials is the awareness it gives you of the seasons and cycles of the plants and the land,” she says. “In spring, I gather willow bark and dandelions, in summer nettles and brambles. Autumn is a mad rush of harvesting long leafy things, and in the winter, I spend what little sunlight there is foraging vines such as honeysuckle and ivy.”
The plants undergo a painstaking process that involves splitting the stalk, peeling out the soft and spongy pith, drying the remaining fibers, and later rehydrating the strands, a method Grieve developed while working in central France where she was tasked with lining vegetable garden with hazel. “I felt an immediate connection to the craft, the simple meditative rhythm of the weaving, the beautiful tactile way in which it allows you to connect with the land, and the feeling of self-reliance,” she says. Today, her focus is on the most abundant and hearty species, which she twists into long cords to create wide, sloping bowls, handled baskets, or pouches just big enough to fit a pebble.
In addition to creating more goods to sell in her shop, Grieve is currently working on a book detailing her techniques. She also has an extensive archive of tutorials for processing the natural fibers on her site and Instagram, where you can see more of the miniatures, too. (via Lustik)
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!