CREATIVE CORNER: Greenpoint Library’s Upcycled Basket Weaving Workshop

A few finished baskets created by the workshop’s instructor Hanna Wellish.  Photo credit: Lori Ann Doyon

On January 7, Greenpoint Library held another workshop that showcases creative ways to upcycle materials.  The plastic bag has to be one of the more ubiquitous materials around, even with them being banned a few years ago.  Hanna Wellish, “a Greenpoint-based artist that works at the intersection of fine art and ritual,” states the Greenpoint Library event page, led the workshop on how to basket weave with plastic bags. 

The only tools you need are a yarn needle or a bobby pin (a small one works best), plastic bags (30 for a medium size basket — any size or type: bread bags, shopping bags, shipping bags, etc.), and scissors. Think about colors for a design or just wing it. Bags are separated for two uses, interior and exterior. The interior bags aren’t seen, the exterior bags will be weaved over the interior ones — those are the ones you will create the design with.

Participants in the workshop cut some bags into strips and attached them to a bobby pin that would act as a needle to weave the strip over and under the other bags that were rolled and coiled. Photo credit: Lori Ann Doyon

The handles of the bags are cut off — you can also use handless bags and skip this step.  The exterior bags are cut into 2-inch strips along the horizontal.  A bobby pin is attached to one end of the loop strip.  The interior bags are rolled tightly from longer edge to longer edge, to make a sort of rope, use similar sized bags for this, so the rope maintains the same circumference.  Once rolled, coil the “bag rope” a few turns, and while holding it in place begin threading the loop strip with the bobby pin in and out through the coils to secure them in place.  The beginning part is probably the most challenging.  Once the starting coils are secured it becomes a smoother process.

Continue coiling and threading and shaping (you could make a flat basket or more of a bowl depending on how you chose to shape it as you go along).  To add onto the interior bags: roll the end of the interior bag rope (in the basket) inside the add-on interior bag.  Secure this by tying the connection with a thin strip of plastic bag (from the handles that were detached).  To extend exterior bags:  loop the loops of the extension through each other around the basket-attached exterior bag.

To view a YouTube tutorial go to:  The video uses rope instead of the rolled-up bag.

The next Greenpoint Library creative upcycling workshop will be on February 11 from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. It will be led by local artist Kelly Olshan  who will demonstrate how to create a necklace and/or art out of recycled materials. To register go to:

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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