Bastabinne in Ödenäs

Bastabinne is a technique which uses spruce bast to make baskets and other objects, and to make ropes.

Location: Ödenäs, Västergötland

Flätad kasse.

Photo: Vänersborgs museum (CC BY).

The bast is taken from a densely grown spruce tree, which is cut to length. The core is removed and the wood pieces are cooked until the bark can be pulled off by hand, and they are then bonded together into strips or rope. The art of making baskets is old and also exists at other places in Sweden and around the world, with different materials and techniques. What is special about the production in Ödenäs is that it has been concentrated to one village, and that whole families were involved and the products were distributed widely. During the middle of the nineteenth century 10,000 baskets were exported every year.

Today, several craftspeople are knowledgeable about technique, but only a few make baskets for sale. In the 1970s, the history society in Ödenäs began their work to pass down the craft and today there is a basket making centre. Courses are arranged and the technique has been documented on film, but further documentation and the dissemination of knowledge is needed. One obstacle to continuing is access to the material, because even round spruce branches which have grown slowly and are straight are necessary. Interest is however great for both the final products and the craft.