Twig basket care is a simple thing – keeping in mind that twig baskets are made from natural materials and have certain properties.
I have many baskets in my collection – some are made in far off lands out of unknown fibers and materials, so it’s always a gamble finding the right way to care for them.
I usually use a garden hose with a sprayer to clean off dust and cobwebs, making sure that I choose a day that’s bright and warm, but not overly hot, and not humid.
High humidity will make the twig basket stay too wet, and mold or fungus can take hold.
Dry air, which will allow the basket to dry quickly, but no direct sunlight which could crack the item, is essential.
Canned air can be used, or an air compressor to blow off the dust, which is a good route to take if you’re unsure how the materials will react to wet for instance.
Once the twig basket is clean of dust, then you can decide if it should be treated.
In some cases, the finish is worn off, or you feel that the poor quality of the basket is not worth showing off. These are perfect items to practice some interesting paint or stain techniques.
Aboriginal antique baskets are sacred, especially those made by indigenous first nations tribes that have lost the old time skills, so if you are in possession of some of these kinds of baskets, please use caution in caring for them. They are precious crafts using handed down abilities and lore, which may be lost now forever.
In some cases, the materials will be brittle and disintegrate under harsh treatment, even exposure to sunlight or the oils from your skin.
Museums are the best place for these kinds of collections, as they know how to best care for the twig baskets to preserve them properly.
Willow twig baskets usually require little care to keep them looking good, due to the waxy coating of the willow bark. I may use a little light oil, even cooking oil to give a nice sheen to this type of twig basket.
Your choice of finishes will make your twig basket easier to care for, preserve its beauty and usefulness and make it unique.