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One of my further activities

Basket making

I have learned doing baskets from my grandfather on mother’s side, Hermann Jakob Mayer (1904 – 1996). See also on the right side of the picture with the three old basket makers. As a wine maker and fruit farmer it was not that busy in wintertime. So he made baskets mostly in winter and spring season. My mother told me once, he has learned it from basket makers which were travelling around. My grand-grand-grandfather (Gottfried Böhringer – 1838-1923) was also basket maker and was named “Korbmacher-Böhringer” [= basket makers’ Böhringer].

As a small boy I was sitting often beside of my grandfather and was once allowed to do one on my own. After several trials I was able to do it, even not as good as my grandfather. But the basic technique.

After his dead in 1996 I was not doing baskets for 20 years. I had also no material. But once the handle of my wife’s basked was broken. So I fixed it and I became again interest of doing something contrary to my regular job. Then there was a lucky moment, when I was aware of some plants (willows) they were available in the next village for free. Since then I have enough material for doing baskets. At this point many thanks to the Family Koch from Beutelsbach!

So basically I can do only baskets my grandfather was doing but these are the traditional ones. Traditional that was used in our region. So everything what is round or oval. I am going with open eyes through this world, so I have already tried to do some different art objects. The different types you will find here below.

For sure I am also selling the baskets. I can say some prices. The prices vary slightly, depending on size and used material.

Sometimes I am also travelling - but not very far - and people „book“ me and I am going to show, how baskets are made. I have always material with me to show and children are always allowed to do something small, if they like. This looks then like that:

My grandfather told me often, that he was travelling by train with the fruits in the baskets to Stuttgart market for selling. You cannot really imagine this today. But then I saw a historical picture in the newspaper of the market place in Stuttgart. This gives an impression, how many baskets were in use those days:

Source: Stuttgarter Zeitung, 20.08.2004

The material

As already told, I am getting the brown willows mostly from Beutelsbach resp. Endersbach. The yellow ones, which I need for the bottom and the inner part of the handles, I am getting from many friends in the closer region. The white ones are skinned and I am buying them via internet. It is French material. In theory I know, how to remove the skin and I have done this, but very rarely. But it is very, very time consuming. I cannot remember even my grandfather has made it ever. He was buying the white willows from Bavaria (Widen in der Oberpfalz).

In the meanwhile I started to grew widdows on an own ground. But it will take some years until I will get a significant amount of material in a good quality.