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THE SECRET LIFE OF ANTIQUES | BASKETS

 

 

Antique baskets are not only beautifully decorative

 

 

they instantly add texture and warmth to your home

 

 

and garden.

 

 

 

 

 

Not just a pretty face, they are hard-working, multi-taskers that are just as practical

 

 

 

today as when they were first woven.

 

 

 

 

 

I use antique baskets all over our home and garden at FrenchGardenHouse.

 

 

 

Mr. FGH thinks I’ve never met an antique basket I didn’t love

 

 

and he’s right!

 

 

 

 

 

In this post I’ll share a little of their history

 

 

 

and also how to care for and clean antique baskets.

 

 

 

 

 

HISTORY

The weaving of baskets is as old as the history of humans, traces of baskets have been dated to 10,000 – 12,000 years old, found in upper Egypt. As soon as men and women figured out how to weave fibers together, they began making early forms of baskets.

During the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s, baskets were used in factories and for packing and deliveries. Thousands of baskets were made for the war effort during both World Wars. Baskets were specially made to carry shell cases, for dropping supplies and ammunition to troops, for transporting messenger pigeons.

Until paper and plastic bags were invented, baskets in all sizes and shapes were a necessary item for every household.

 

Baskets often reflected in form and design what they were intended to be used for. For example, “egg” baskets were created so that the eggs placed inside were evenly distributed so the weight of the eggs on top of each other wouldn’t break the bottom ones. For many rural families, basket making was a way to bring in needed extra money, for some, farming became secondary because by making baskets they earned more. After WWII, basket making in Western countries changed over to more of a hobby.

 

 

COLLECTING

A basket collection helps connect us to people long ago, talented artisans who worked with their hands. That is the beauty of baskets, each one is a one-of-a-kind creation.

There are so many types of antique baskets!  As with everything, collect what you love! You can choose to collect utilitarian or decorative baskets, {I think all baskets are decorative!} plain, painted, round, small or large.  I tend to fall in love with the more French Country simple baskets, but there are plenty of “fancy” baskets you could collect.

 

You can expect to pay a premium for perfect, unusual size or shaped baskets, a true antique basket will range from 100.00 and up to thousands for rare and exceptional ones. Baskets with their original paint are highly prized by collectors, and will therefore cost more.

Most can and should still do duty as storage, or to carry things from one place to another. If you have a very expensive basket, or one that you absolutely adore, display it as a work of art. Be sure to add your antique basket collection to your home insurance, too!

 

 

 

HOW TO CARE FOR ANTIQUE BASKETS

 

Antique baskets are valued for their condition and patina, so preserving them is important.

1. Keep them clean. {see below.}

2. If you live in a very dry home {heater, air conditioning} mist around your basket once in a while to restore a little humidity. But don’t get your baskets “wet.”

3. Handle your baskets gently.  The handles and rims should be treated with care. Try not to pick up an antique basket by the handle only, unless it is very sturdy and of the “workhorse” variety.

4. Avoid direct sunlight, it will make your basket brittle and fragile.

5. Please don’t varnish your old baskets, this completely destroys their value and makes them brittle.

 

 

 

 

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR ANTIQUE BASKETS

 

I advise using an artist brush to gently brush dust off your baskets.  It will be able to dust away debris in the weave, but is soft enough not to do damage.

Another tip is to put netting or an old nylon stocking over the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner and vacuum gently.

Please do not wet or soak your antique basket!  Yes, basketmakers soak the materials before they weave them, but soaking your antique basket in water or getting it overly wet can make parts loosen and swell out of shape.  You can also remove the patina, which will not only make your basket less valuable, it won’t be as beautiful, either.

 

 

SHOP NEWLY ACQUIRED BASKETS

 

Antique baskets add so much charm to your French Country home!

 

 

HOW DO YOU USE ANTIQUE BASKETS IN YOUR DECOR?

à bientôt

 

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

15 Responses to THE SECRET LIFE OF ANTIQUES | BASKETS

  1. I so love a great antique basket. Your FGH collection is magnificent. As always, thank you for the information and history of baskets. Always a joy to come away reading your posts with such beauty and information! My fav is the basket on the pretty garden bench! Happy Spring Lidy!!!

  2. Shirley, Happy Spring sweet friend! I love all baskets, especially the older ones. The work and skill that went into making them is really amazing.

  3. Lidy, I have a basket that belonged to my grandmother. How can I tell if it’s a “real” antique? I would guess that it’s between 80 and 100 years old…maybe older. Maybe it already qualifies as an antique. Thank you so much for the very helpful information on caring for it!

  4. Vicky, yes, it’s an antique if it’s that old. How fortunate you are to have your grandmother’s basket, a treasure for sure.

  5. I too love baskets and enjoyed seeing yours and reading your good info on caring for them. I have a couple of my grandmothers baskets and love them! Miniatures are my favorite and I have found some really nice ones at Flea mkts.
    I also have a small collection of low country seagrass baskets which are very special as this is somewhat of a dying art.
    Thank you Lidy and have a lovely day!

  6. Theresa, I envy you your low country seagrass baskets, this is a dying art, unfortunately! With good care, they should be beautifully preserved by you for future genertions. I know you are enjoying your collection!

  7. Baskets are so much prettier than paper or plastic lol. I don’t have any antique baskets, but I do use baskets for different things eg magazines, books, throws etc. Thanks for the beautiful and informative post. Take care!

  8. Tammy, I agree! And not only are the prettier, they do such a great job of corralling things at home, don’t they?

  9. Thank you for this! Your baskets are beautiful!
    I am also a basket lover/collector: a few antiques, some handcrafted, some simply useful. I wrote a post some time ago about my seagrass baskets. (They are especially precious because they’re a true handcraft, passed down.) I’ve been preparing another post about baskets because it is Easter basket season, right?
    Have a great day!

  10. This post is so lovely Lidy! Your photos of your baskets are beautiful! I love baskets to gather flowers in too and have so many more than I need, but like you, have yet to see a lovely woven basket that I don’t love. I am so glad you included the cleaning tips too. Mine are all in need of a good cleaning!
    sending love…

  11. I love your basket post Lidy. So much good information, and I am a huge basket fan too. Recently I went to my first miniature store and the bottom shelf of every selling area had tons of small baskets so you could easily pick one up and start filling it with the miniatures you wanted to purchase. Such a cute idea and so practical, as baskets can be.

  12. These are so beautiful! We used to have several baskets, some were of the older variety, but we have let most of them go during our minimizing journey. We did keep some that meant the most, and we truly treasure them! Thank you for this wonderful post and for all of the helpful information you shared! Happy Spring, Lidy!

  13. Thanks for sharing how to care for antique baskets. I have some ,and never really knew the proper way to care for them.
    Much appreciated. I love receiving all your post. Happy spring Lidy
    Rita

  14. Who doesn’t love a great basket? I tend to fill my baskets with artificial foliage or flowers, soaps and hand towels. I am more of a decorator than a person who uses them for storage or some sort of task. love the tips for cleaning, great vacuum cleaner idea.
    Thanks, Denise

  15. I love baskets and all the beauty that comes with each one. I add greens, books, cookie cutters, pictures . It is endless the ways we can use them. I have even woven quite a few . You have shown some beauties.

    linda m

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