Hello all. I have been neglecting this space somewhat haven’t I! I began the blog back in September with an intention to post once a week. Well that didn’t work out but here we are already near the end of January 2016. Lets give this another go!
First up – a week or so ago I attended a one day hedgerow basketry course. I’d heard about it through a Twitter and Instagram friend a few weeks before Christmas. I’ve often thought I’d like to have a go at basket making and I was excited to have an opportunity to try it out. I booked my place and then eagerly looked forward to January 17th!
Our fab teacher Morgan began by introducing us to the different types of willow that can be used in basketry and the tools that are needed. We worked with green willow on the day, which basically means willow that is untreated. Morgan had prepared the willow by soaking it for a few days to make it pliable to work with. We had a choice of Flanders Red and Brittany Green willow, also some Dogwood, the colours of which were just beautiful. I chose the Brittany Green and started by making two loops which formed the basic framework for my basket.
The two loops had to be secured on each side with split willow which we wound around the crossed loops using a method called The Gods Eye.
Once the loops were fastened together it was time to place two supporting rods beneath each Gods Eye and begin weaving. I continued with the Flanders Green willow but decided to try using a few stems of Dogwood too (that’s the darker stuff making the reddish stripe). The dogwood was thicker and more difficult to work with. I also wasn’t sure I liked the way the thicker stems sat next to the green so I carried on with the green but left the red in for a bit of contrast. After a little while my creation began to look basket-like!
Having placed two more supporting rods I carried on weaving. By the end of the day I had an almost finished basket.
Morgan very kindly allowed those of us who hadn’t quite finished to take home a small bunch of willow so we could finish our creations. On arriving back home I settled down with a nice cup of tea and carried on weaving until my basket was finished. At this point it looked a little tatty around the edges but after a few days drying and a little snip round with my secateurs I had my very first hedgerow basket.
I had about thirty stems of willow left which I did not want to waste so the next day I wound them into this wreath. A little plain at the moment but I’m working on a plan to decorate it. More news on that as it happens!
I had a great time on this one day course and really look forward to further adventures in basketry and willow weaving! Thanks again to Morgan for running a brilliant course.