Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Endless Ball (and Bulgarian fish traps)

I made the most of the sunny day last weekend and took myself to Stave Hill Ecological Park to complete a piece for Sculptural, an exhibition at Coombe Trenchard, which I’ve also mentioned  in the previous post.

I wasn’t the only one with the idea to make the most of the day in the park and while weaving brambles, many walkers came to enquire as to what I was doing. One woman told me how it reminded her of the lampshades she used to make in her village in Bulgaria using string and homemade glue (a mix of flour and water) over an inflated ball. These were then left to dry in the sun before deflating the ball and piercing a hole to insert the light fitting.

I knew about these and you probably do too, but I was surprised when she also told me about the fish traps she made with her dad using reeds and the same interlacing technique (see Practical Basketry Techniques for more practical tips on this). The skill is to gage the size of the fish you will be catching in the pond, then weave a ball with holes big enough to allow the fish to go in, using bread as bait, but small enough not to allow it to turn around and escape. The top hole, floating just above the level of the water, allows you to get the fish out when it is caught. How about that for ingenious and economical design!  

I’ll have to do a little research on these traps but through a little foraging and making at Stave Hill and this chance encounter I have a pretty good idea of what these might look like already.

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