Visiting Canterbury and seeing its marsh side

What a great opportunity:to be invited by @Julie_Gurr to help renovation of a withy bed AND to visit the talented and expert basket maker #MaryButcher

We set off from our first rendezvous boys in Iden near Rye took the Roman Rd known locally as Stone Street into Canterbury. This route was a grand tour of the outlying villages of the marsh and great views of the North Downs

Hambrook marshes are located very close to the city centre and is an amazing sanctuary for wildlife and city folk. We had high speed trains on one side and the distant sound of motorway traffic on the other, despite this, it was possible to enjoy the marshes as a nature reserve.these are action shots of volunteers and basket makers cropping the willow and burning the unusable willow. The Withy bed hasn’t been cropped for 5 years so lots of the willow is too big for basketry

I was there to get cuttings to plant a Withy bed at Lydd allotment. The time is running low so the cuttings need to go in before the end of February. I’ve seen cuttings available at the end of people’s garden offered as ‘Slips’ other names are Whips and Setts. I’m interested in growing willow for our workshops and I’m looking forward to the different colours we can use.

We identified this variety as Dicky Meadows and the colour is a beautiful soft yellow. Other colours included various greens, pink and red however the drying process does change the colour so lots more to learn…

Our visit to Mary Butcher included chatting about all the different baskets that are made from around the world. I’ve known of Mary’s work in preserving the basket makers skills form when she worked at City Lit in London. I worked there too but didn’t get to do one of her courses until a year after I moved to the south coast.

If you want to learn about basketry then this is a good place to start!


New year and new willow classes

We are making baskets inside the ancient walls of All Saints church in Lydd

The sunshine was streaming through the stained glass windows and helping us to keep warm. We have set ourselves the task of learning how to make a basket base using brown willow.

We have cut the rods to approx 8 in diameter, we managed to tie in the slate ok but taking the willow around the structure proved more challenging and pairing the base sticks was definitely taking its toll so….

We all had a hot chocolate and continued

All the students have promised to complete the base and making sure there is a *crown* in other words a curve to the shape

We have the brilliant book by Mary Butcher to guide us through…..

Next week prickin up & upsetting