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  • Writer's pictureMartha Bird

Pandemic Peony Support

During this unexpected pandemic Stay At Home time, it's been a challenge to figure out how to channel my creativity when so many emotions are on the surface. I was able to clearly identify my desire to "go back to the basics" and create a "basket" that was functional and useful. Here's how I created this basket-type sculpture:

Soak some 10 foot willow for 10 days, mellow it for 1 day and then begin by "breaking the fibers" over my knee so that I can begin to shape it.

The one on the left is ready to be used as a stake.

Push them into the dirt.

Trim the very long ends so they are manageable.

Begin to weave it in place by bending over and moving continuously around in a circle.

Imagine this...keep weaving up the sides, going round and round, bent fully over, stakes resting on my shoulders and my head in the open space between the stakes.

Quandary 1: When the sides are high enough, how to secure those very long stakes so the weaving is held in place?

Bend them over and tuck them in to fashion a rim!

Quandary 2: How to keep the willow sticks that are pushed into the dirt, from beginning to break down and deteriorate?

Remove the "basket," turn it upside down, trim the part of the willow that was pushed into the dirt AND FIGURE OUT HOW TO SECURE THE BOTTOM so the weaving doesn't fall out.

Add metal stakes to the structure so that the metal will be pushed into the dirt (see red circles).

Tie the peonies together, so the willow 'basket" will fit back over the top.

Violá!! A beautiful structure that supports the peonies in a way that they won't fall to the earth when it rains. And, it can be removed over the winter so that it can be used year after year.


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