Last Sunday I got to hang out with @sunflower_avenue in her local woods & I got to be her first basket weaving student. ^_____^

She guided me through making this little basket out of invasive english ivy. So so so happy with it! Thank you so much Sun!

Sometimes I get surprised when I don't get much of a response to toots that *I* think are "a big deal". I wonder if it's just different values?

To me, the ability to create containers using natural local materials is ____so frickin cool___! It's empowering, a creativity opportunity, and creates useful things without producing non-biodegradable waste!

Baskets are remarkably badass.

@tty Luv how I only saw this second toot and not the original on my tl /s

Invasive species really do need to be removed, but simply removing and dumping them /does/ seem mildly wasteful, if one could instead reasonably make use of them. I'd never considered the idea of using ivy for crafts, and it's a cool one!


@certifiedperson @sunflower_avenue has explored this a bunch, including making dyes I think from invasive plants?

@tty @sunflower_avenue .... oh my gosh how did it not occur to me that someone teaching another to do this is a pretty good indicator that the teacher probably spends a bunch of time and effort on this sort of topic, and therefore may post about that sort of topic.

Thanks for pointing that out more explicitly!

@certifiedperson @tty ya!! Ive been super interested in exploring uses for invasive plants! Mainly around weaving and dyeing, but also food, laundry detergent, medicine, papermaking....
If you want to tell me some of the plants around you i can tell you if i know if anything to do with them!

@sunflower_avenue oh thank you! We don't have much capacity for Doing right now - barely managing the basics, let alone any new projects - but i would be curious on what you know for gorse? (No need to go your of your way to find anything! It's not of high importance.)

We know gorse-flower wine is a thing (which we've never tried, nor would we have the equipment for.) but aside that... There's so much of it here (NZ), it'd be neat to find a (semi-)practical use for it.

@certifiedperson ooh! I haven't encountered gorse, but it looks really interesting!
It looks like the most common use is as kindling. Apparently it burns hot and fast without leaving tons of ash. So it was used for baking and such.
The flowers are apparently edible. I've seen mention to making tea or wine with them. Or pickling the flower buds like capers.
The flowers apparently dye a yellow/orange colour with an alum mordant. And the bark can dye a green.
Apparently the wood isnt great for big projects. But for ornamental things or cutlery it could work really nicely.
Livestock can also graze on it, especially the young shoots. Which it looks like some places are using as part of the management strategy. Cut the plants down to stumps, then bring some grazing animals through every so often to keep the new growth at bay (i now really want to learn more about grazing animals in invasive plant management, so that's another rabbit hole!)

@certifiedperson since its similar to scotch broom (which i have worked with) i wonder if it could be used in a similar manner to make coiled baskets. Although perhaps the thorns would get in the way🤔

(NZ) Invasive plants / gorse, 1/? 

@sunflower_avenue Ooh that's really interesting, and thanks for mentioning the flower tea & pickles! Gorse is blooming now, and those seem reasonably within my current capacity (and also wouldn't require as many flowers as whine would, saving both time and injury!.

(NZ) Invasive plants / gorse, 2/? 

@sunflower_avenue They're /massively/ invasive in New Zealand, but they (and I think broom as well) have been at least studied as nursery plants for natives - they provide shelter in earlier life (as long as they don't crowd out the native) and also fix nitrogen, and eventually the native outgrows them. I think they're really not good for tussockland though, 'cause it just ends up tussock-and-gorse-land

(NZ) Invasive plants / gorse, 3/3 

@sunflower_avenue Also, I recall one episode of Country Calender about a Swiss couple who bought this rocky, gorse-filled land, and put goats on it. (Also bees like the flowers! High nectar in early spring.)

It might take some extra work to remove the gorse spines for a basket but it's maybe doable? There may be an established technique that makes it less awful, idk. It would prob still be difficult, though, as the thorns are v many, v hard, and v pointy.

(NZ) Invasive plants / gorse, 3/3 

@certifiedperson ooh! I wonder if the thorns could be used as needles.

(NZ) Invasive plants / gorse, 3/3 

@sunflower_avenue I think the thorns are usually quite short - guesstimate from memory is the longest ones might only be half an inch, and they'll get smaller from there. Not sure if there's much use for short needles?

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Sunbeam City is a anticapitalist, antifascist solarpunk instance that is run collectively.