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baskets baskets baskets

3 September 2011

Every Saturday the Penticton Downtown Farmers and Artisans Markets are awash in beautiful, brilliant colours and textures.  Of course, one can attribute that to the sunny summer landscapes of beautiful Penticton, or to the bright veggies and fruits and crafts, or to the multitude of residents and tourists alike clad in their fashionable summer attire.

But one thing we’ve really noticed recently is the beautiful, brilliant colours and textures of the vast array of totes folks bring with them to carry the bounty they purchase at the 3 blocks of market stalls.  Therefore, for the next few posts, we are going to feature a series of collages of various sorts of these amazingly artistic utilitarian devices!

Today we feature baskets.  When I was young, I loved to pore through old, old issues of National Geographic Magazine.  One thing that truly caught my eye was the variety of amazing baskets, almost always handmade, that people all over the world used in their daily lives.  In the garden gathering the harvest, slung over the backs of donkeys and llamas on narrow rugged mountain trails, held aloft perched on heads above perfectly postured backs, in small clay-floored homes filled with beautiful handmade blankets and traditional clothing, at the market overflowing with vegetables and fruit and berries.

But did I see baskets in our home or community?  Rarely.  There were small collections in museums.  Sometimes a small basket with fancy little soaps in a guest bathroom.  Occasionally a tattered old basket covered with cobwebs in the corner of an old barn or shed, mute evidence that baskets had once upon a time held a more honored role in our society.

In recent years, baskets have started to make a reappearance, generally as a design statement or decorative touch in homes and businesses.  They’ve also become popular as a way to artistically present a gift – perhaps a couple of bottles of wine, or a bouquet of flowers.  And more and more frequently, their utilitarian purposes are integrated with their beauty.   Now it is common to find baskets of all descriptions organizing books, towels, toys, and more.

Best of all, baskets are making a comeback in the activities of our daily lives.  As we realize the way modern progress has in many ways ill-affected our world, we are realizing the value of things we had tossed aside as old-fashioned.  Thus, baskets once again lend their beauty and their utility in many ways.  Bikes once again feature baskets, and folks carry baskets over their arm, as we park our cars and walk to the store or work or play.  More and more we plant our own vegetables and flowers, and fill our baskets with the produce to bring it into the home.  And of course, we carry our beautiful baskets to the local farmers and artisans markets to fill them with the bounty of our countryside and with the creations of our neighbours.  Baskets have once again become an integral part of our homes and communities.  Welcome back, baskets!

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