Have you ever painted a Jean Jacket?! It's fun and also somewhat of a challenge...…
Pushing design to the limit makes for more interesting & fun results! Forgetting the rules lets you discover crazy new options to Make the Most Unique Rope Bowls.
I’ll show you the Ropes:
Now the trip to the hardware stores include the rope aisle! I have been trying all kinds of ropes and cord lately. The rustic coloured one here is actually a 1/4″ polypropylene rope with little specs of reflective material for outdoors. I’m liking any rope that is close to 1/4″ and polyester ones sew quite well.
One thing to consider is the end of the rope where you cut it. Cotton ones get wrapped with thread to hold the fibres but the others will be heated to fuse the strands. If it un-strands really quickly then the section I plan to cut at is heated slowly to prevent flames and then cut through it so each end is fused. (caution; be careful as they are quick to catch fire)
This particular vessel is not circular so I started with a longer piece instead of a centre point. I had no specific plans other than to be unique and asymmetrical & often throw caution to the wind and try to make the image that’s in my mind come to life. I sewed the usual zigzag stitch of basic rope bowl making until the bowl curved up about 4 rows.
The swirls of shapes by coiling are intriguing so I made a few of varying sizes and lengths. Start in the centre and then work out ward but leave a section of rope that then will be coiled from the centre of the other end so no end tail is on the outside of the final ‘S’ shape. They are fun to make and I’m sure there are many more variations to make!
Adding the Design Elements:
I wanted something that was not a conventional bowl shape but more irregular. As an artist I always strive to be original. Doodle some sketches if you want to visualize ideas.
Just like I would sew on another row of rope I sewed on the shapes but did not continue all around.
After adding the white shapes I then continued the darker rope around those. Following the curve or pulling straight will give some interesting lines in the sides. If things go really wrong it isn’t that difficult to take apart again.
The amount of tension you pull on the rope will determine the amount of flare or curve the bowl will have. The more you pull will make it taper narrower to the top.
After a couple rows I added some more shapes between the rows. The good thing was that there was no cutting of the darker rope until the end.
I’ve been meaning to make some wood handles (yup, always more ideas before I am even done the one I’m working on) but it’s still too early to get into the forest here. I envision some knurly old tree handles on these basket bowls.
I’ve settled for a simple glued wrap of leather to clean the end cut.
I find these quite interesting to look at and they are quite sturdy as well. They could act as plant pot holders or kitchen fruit/bun baskets…
Even though there are voids it still holds well. It the ‘art’ world ‘Negative Shape’ (the shapes between objects/elements) is a great design tool and I love how these unique rope bowls have interest from each view.
Another Predictable Style:
If you like a traditional style, this may be for you. Rather than having varying sizes I planned all ‘S’es to be the same size and fir around the bowl side.
Each rope piece was cut and the middle marked so it could be sewn coil from each end and make the ‘S’ shape.
Continuing the bowl bottom until it became the required multiple of the width of the shapes (oh, just simple math)
It my case 5 of the ‘s’es fit around the bowl. The are zig-zag sewn together at the ends. To make them stay put I pinned before sewing.
Ok, do not curse me now… It does get a bit ‘futzy’ when sewing further from the edge but I think it’s so worth it.
After the shapes are nicely attached it’s back to making a rim (by starting a new rope)
If you do not mind measuring and math, this is a pretty design as well. The white is a 3/16″ polyester clothesline rope and has a soft sheen to it.
Make some baskets/bowls in whatever design you like… I’d love to see what you dream up! I think this one has found a purpose. It’s almost like the bird’s nest basket for my birds.