10 September - 3 November
An in-depth look at the many and various baskets in the museum’s collection exploring the techniques and materials used to create the specialised shapes and forms.
The Woven Communities Project is a group of Scottish basket-makers working with the University of St Andrews and museums across Scotland to learn about how, until very recently, baskets used to be a commonplace part of Scottish daily life, so much so that we hardly noticed they were there - a real fabric of society.
10 September - 3 November Entry included in museum admisssion
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Dr Stephanie Bunn of the Woven Communities Project explains:
“We are working with the Museum of Rural Life looking at baskets’ use in agriculture and the fruit industry; at the Highland Folk Museum looking at baskets’ role in crofting and for Scottish Travellers; with the Dementia Friendly Community Project at An Lanntair in Lewis finding out about people’s memories of baskets in island life; at Shetland Museum learning about baskets, materials and design; and here with the Scottish Fisheries Museum, where we are learning about how invaluable creels and baskets were in every aspect of the fishing industry, and looking at the incredible skills woven into each basket in the collection.
“To help us with our project, the Scottish Fisheries Museum has let us work with its unique basketry collection of fishing creels, quarter crans, fishwives’ rips, sculls and line baskets, along with ropes and nets. At one time, these creels, sculls and other baskets were used in almost all aspects of fishing life along the East coast of Scotland. Without the help of hand-made back creels, arm creels, lobster creels, rips, bait baskets, line sculls, crans, fenders, traps, ropes, ties, nets and snoods, fish would not have been caught or sold in the East Neuk and beyond.
“What is very striking about the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s collection is that it is so varied and extensive, showing us just how essential woven baskets were to fisher folk. It is also remarkable how many different styles of baskets for similar tasks up were made and down the coast. At the same time, given that so short a time has passed since baskets were in use - just 50 years, it is also striking how quickly people have forgotten both what they were used for, how they were used and how they were made.
“We are also using the exhibition to gather information. If you have any knowledge about such baskets, please feel welcome to get in touch. Maybe a member of your family used to make sculls, creels or other baskets?… or one was used in their trade? Perhaps they worked on the herring fleets? Or collected bait? Or sold fish? Or did line fishing? It is all invaluable to our project.”