Plaiting garlic

Today I plaited the garlic.

Plaiting braids from leaves, grasses and cereal stalks is a universal, simple and very portable activity. It isn’t really necessary to look at the work, you can feel it and it doesn’t require much thought, just a steady rhythm. The finished braids are found stitched together into baskets and mats all over the world.

The leaves of garlic are plaited with the bulb attached and don’t require any stitching, they are just what they are, braids of garlic. It is a very practical way to store the garlic because every bulb is visible, making it easy to see which ones need eating first, it is also very decorative and it is one of the jobs I enjoy at this time of year. I always try a few different ways of doing it, usually because I have forgotten which method I liked best last year, and the only thing that seems critical is how dry the leaves are. Yesterday I tried doing it late in the afternoon but the leaves were very dry and brittle and kept breaking so I decided to do what I do with other leaves when I want to plait them and let the dew moisten them. I left the garlic out overnight and this morning they were soft and silky.

Lois Walpole, Britain


Lois Walpole is of Anglo Scottish heritage and trained in Sculpture,  Basket Making and Design.

She works full time as an artist/basket maker taking part in and curating national and international exhibitions, working to commission, designing for production, teaching and writing.

She divides her time between the Shetland Islands and the Charente, in south west France, where her studio is based.

Her blog gives the latest about her teaching and exhibitions and is where she talks about the baskets and basket related things that she finds interesting, inspiring, infuriating and intriguing…

Her self imposed rules are “no materials purchased and basket making techniques employed wherever possible”.

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