Willow

Basketmaking in Ireland

 

Had a marvellous time with Joe Hogan in the west of Ireland. Learnt how to make a skib, a non-functional pod from a ‘tree hole’, and practiced my fitching on a small log basket. Also made several underfoot bases which I am still less confident about. It’s all about repetition…

 

Joe Hogan Visit

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This time next week I’ll be in County Galway staying with Joe Hogan, master basketmaker and artist. I’ve admired Joe’s work for years and am thrilled to be able to learn from him. This visit has been made possible by the generous HCA* and NADFAS** bursary, the first part of which went towards learning traditional work with Adrian Charlton. With Joe however, I’m hoping to explore techniques used in more contemporary, sculptural work (such as his pods, one pictured above).

(*The Heritage Craft Association and ** The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies)

Recent work and upcoming markets

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Bread/fruit baskets

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Back-basket (straps to be added)

I’ve been enjoying a few unusual commissions this summer, which has been fun and challenging. Now starting to make stock for the upcoming local winter fairs and events, namely:

  • Tunbridge Wells Farmers Markets: 12th November; 10th and 22nd December (9am-2pm, outside Town Hall)
  • Great Dixter Winter Fair: 26th & 27th November (details to follow)
  • Wilderness Wood Winter Fair: 3rd and 4th December (10am-4pm), Hadlow Down, East Sussex.

Looking forward to meeting old and new customers!

Pod and Cocoon

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Olives and Ochres

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Rope Coil Asymmetric Log basket

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Rope Coil Asymmetric Log

 

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Pod and Cocoon

This week I’ve really enjoyed working on some commissions and getting into the flow with the ‘rope coil’ technique, playing with asymmetry and more sculptural forms. I love the juxtaposition of the smooth reddish brown of the buff willow against the variation in texture and colour that the bark of the ‘brown’ willow (which is often shades of olive green to deep purples) gives.

Random selection

Its been a productive month since France… beginning my ‘6 of each’ homework for AC (first pea-picker and peck pictured); two encouraging weeks at open studios; enjoying making hurdles in sunshine and rain; practicing underfoot walk-around slewed bottoms; recycling hazel and willow excess into Forest School projects; seeing what my bike basket looks like on Tanya’s bike. Generally feeling excited and motivated by it all. Oh and some new commissions to work on over the summer. Jolly good.

A Month of Making begins

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Day One of Weaving new stock for the Cuckoo Fair, to be held at the Bell in Ticehurst on Sunday 15th May. Thought I’d start small with these two bread/fruit baskets to get my eye in again… having fun combining different willows (the red/black/yellow tones I’ve grown myself), and a plaited border for a change, in white willow.