Learning by Doing:

Meeting with Cherry Chung, engaging with the material and mastering the skill personally

 

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Figure 1: Cherry Chung, while working in her workshop

 

 

When I met Cherry, I found some similarities with her and the basket weavers back in Saudi Arabia, both have not tried to step out of their comfort zone and have not try to experiment or build up something different event just for fun, even when she had a free time. She worked primarily with willow for many years. The techniques she knew did not always suit this new material, and we had to test new ways of weaving. Personally, I have not had a clear vision of what I wanted to outcome with, because I was afraid to be confined in a narrow range, but after getting involved with it I started to learn different techniques and it turns out to be more interesting. In fact, when Cherry suggested some books to read and view, they were really useful in bordering my perception, one of them was called “500 Baskets, A Celebration of the Basketmaker’s Art” written by Susan Kieffer. The other was “Bark, En Forunderlig varden”. Both contained great examples on using weaving techniques in an artistic aesthetically pleasing way. It was an opportunity to learn more on how elastic and flexible the material can be. And that gave me an idea to pick up a ready palm leave woven basket and start distorting it, in order to come up with something unfamiliar, but that did not work well.

Then I started to introduce a new material while weaving, which was 2mm wire cooper, but It also ended up slipping between the wholes. Afterward, I figured out that the material can hold it shape, after drying. So, I stepped forward and start wrapping palm leaves around a glassed vase and insert it into the microwave for a minute, the result was it holds the shape of the vase but the outcome was not interesting.

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