Thursday, 23 January 2014

Back to basics



I am mostly a self taught weaver. I took a term of nightclasses when I was living in the US twenty years ago, and went to a few workshops but most of my baskets were woven from books and patterns and just messing about with rattan cane at home. Since I returned to the UK I have been concentrating on weaving with English willow, learning mostly with Debbie Hall at Salix Arts, and weaving by myself for days and days using rods with gloriously coloured bark.



Recently I discovered there's another basketmaker living locally. Roger specialises in working with buff and white willow, and beautiful decorative plaited borders, and actually makes willow coffins most of the time. I decided to visit last week to make a basket with him, to see how he works and to pick up some tips. I wasn't too worried about what our project was so together we came up with a simple round design that would allow time to look at each stage in very close detail, placing every single stroke with immense care, and the result is a tray that I'm really very proud of. It's rare for me to look at a piece I've made without picking out the mistakes, but this one ... well, for once I can see far more good than bad.

I'll be going back in a couple of weeks to make a different style of basket with a variation on the braid decoration. If it works out you can be certain I'll be showing photos!

17 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh that is just gorgeous. You are very talented.
    (PS, The Beaderie is having a half price pearl sale next week...)
    Ax

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  2. Did someone say half-price pearls?????

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  3. Gosh, that is beautiful. You are very clever!

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  4. It's wonderful, so beautifully made and such a striking design. You are clever!

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  5. You are so multi talented Val! Your weaving is really impressive! X

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  6. I have some very vague memories of doing some sort of basket weaving, possibly from willow, most likely during a stay at girl scout camp in my very young teen years.

    This craft, and skill, continues to fascinate me along with all other sorts of weavings, and other textile applications. Your tray is a beauty, and I thank you for this link to a place that I might learn much more.

    But first...I must find a way to relocate across the Pond.

    xo

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  7. I've been meaning to say for ages how much I have been enjoying your weaving. So fantastic to do something you are passionate about.

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  8. must have been brilliant spending a day with another basket maker. I loved your willow work and my mother was delighted with her willow obelisk!

    poppyinstitches@yahoo.co.uk

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  9. That looks perfect! Beautiful pattern, beautifully made. I shall look forward to seeing the next project too!

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  10. Such a beautiful basket. That border is exquisite!

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  11. Your basket is wonderful, I want to reach out and feel the beautiful pattern you have created.

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  12. Truly beautiful, and kinda elegant. Yum! Go you!!

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  13. How wonderful to have an opportunity to work with another basketmaker and approach your craft with a new eye! The result is beautiful. I am so interested in the materials you use, especially as I never knew about the different colors of Salix varieties until you mentioned it in an earlier post.
    Thank you so much for your kind comment on the blog party post, Val...it really warmed my heart! And that is a special gift on this cold morning :)

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  14. Your tray is lovely - isn't it fantastic the way that night classes can open the door to so much future pleasure.

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  15. Wow -- that's beautiful! It looks like it's a LOT of work!

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