WorkingsRaw Materials: Protein fibresRaw Materials: Cellulosic fibresRaw Materials: Synthetic fibresMaking textiles without threads: felt and bark clothMaking Thread: combing, carding and spinningAdding ColourMaking textiles without looms: braiding, knitting, knottingLaceMaking textiles with loomsTextiles to clothe the worldPutting the pieces together: piecing and quiltingEmbroiderySurface PrintingResist Patterning: batik, plangi, ikatMaking Baskets


We tend to think of a basket as a three-dimensional container made by hand, without a loom, using stiff yet pliable plant materials. On one hand, a three-dimensional textile container is not always a basket (it could be a bag); on the other hand, a basket material like wicker or reed does not necessarily take a three-dimensional form (it could be a mat).

Where was this textile created?

World map preview image

Making Baskets

Asia: South East Asia, Indonesia, Borneo; Iban people
Mid to late 20th century
Split stem fibre, woven
35 cm x 65.5 cm
Gift of Anatol Schlossors and Kevin McGarrigal
T92.0261 Textile Museum of Canada

This plaited basket is a cylindrical backpack with a coiled bottom. Shoulder straps would have been threaded through the loops at the top. The designs of omen birds, tiger tails and blowpipe ends are formed from two colours of the stems of the rohan plant, one natural and one dyed with indigo.

There is no machine in the world that makes baskets out of natural materials. Every single basket is made by someone’s hands – and always has been. Baskets predate ceramics and other textiles as one of the earliest products of human hands.

Do an Activity!
Test your knowledge of textiles and discover something new. You have four adventures to choose from.

Make a Mola Paint by Plant Magic Carpet Animal Know How