Random photos, slewing and making borders

Ok, so workshops are going ahead….and I decided that in order to be more than one step ahead ….full on basketry is taking place. I have the advantage of plenty of supplies from both the garden and Hambrook Marshes. I usually feel under pressure to use up willow that I’ve soaked but currently, using fresh willow me as that I can leave it out in the garden and it is ready & waiting for the next project.

The sunshine has also inspired me to hard prune the very invasive clematis in the garden. I’m not sure of the variety , it is cultivated version, but it is in plentiful supply. I’m really encouraged by this material, admittedly it does need the outer layer peeling off, but otherwise it is very flexible. I’ve a basket almost totally made from clematis, that I made last year, It is still my favourite šŸ˜

The basket here is a practice slewing weave and learn a four rod border project. Slewing needs an odd number of uprights and is very quick. The sides of the basket are rapidly constructed. I think it is an attractive weave too so, lots of positives. A four rod border is far from easy and I don’t manage it without the help of a good basketry book!

outside the church – before

Inside the church – after the second masterclass was a bit rushed this week. We also discovered the need of a bodkin, especially when your hands are so cold. We were inside the church , as per usual, and coffee and hot chocolate did help us thaw. However, the temperature didn’t help the processes we were trying to achieve, so a bodkin is on order and maybe,,,,some gloves?

I’m using all fresh willow and the base is pretty much all clematis. I’m guessing this means I can call this one a hedgerow basket.

The handle on the egg basket made last week, is no longer secure. The fresh willow handle was a tight fit then, but with the drying out of the handle, it is no longer functional…

. That basket is in need of some attention. …All is in hand….

This is a random photo taken from a 2nd hand book in the church, transporting blooms. Maybe there is a connection….


Blue sky views #coast #marsh

I’ve been making sure to celebrate the sunshine as and when we have it…..this is the view of Romney Marsh from close to Camber Sands and Broomgrove Sands. As I was leaving a huge flock of wild geese appeared on the skyline.

You can hear them on this short film

The first workshop at Lydd church went really well, despite it being colder in the church than it was outside. We took this photo of our basket base on the church stone pillar. It is so nice being in such an inspiring space. There were visitors and all of them were interested to know what we were doing. The Churchwardens are very supportive and allow us hot chocolate and fresh coffee to keep us warm. They like that there is an activity going on in the church.

More sunshine today, has meant more blue sky views and yes…..more willow weaving

Foraging and practising traditional skills

it’s the time of year to make the most of the limited daylight hours. Because willow grows so quickly it’s possible to forage thin weavers but there is also a lot of much bigger material.I’ve decided to test out making baskets from both dried willow and fresh willow. Obviously, the colour will fade but I’m wanting to find out if the structure of the basket is compromised by drying and shrinking material. We shall see….

I’ve decided to use the bigger material for making Catalan platters, they’ve gone down well as gifts. 1year old willow plants are providing enough material to make these lovely platters. They can be used for presenting cheese and other tasty treats, but I’m also enjoying them hung on the wall as a reminder of all the gorgeous colours that are available at this time of year.They can also be used to display beach combing treasures. These were found at Rye Harbour and St Leonard’s bulverhythe beach.

I’m pleased to say that the bird feeders are in good use. The corn dolly design is the most successful and it seems to be squirrel proof! A great design feature. The barrel design is too easily raided so I’ve added more of the bird friendly design, which means that the fat ball lasts a lot longer and we can enjoy watching more wild birds feeding from them. result!

I had a bonfire yesterday evening, burning hedge materials that I can’t use for making. It wasn’t a big fire but gave me an excuse for keeping the fire going while enjoying a clear night sky and it’s constellations. I burned 2 baskets that I made when I first starting making *solo* ie without a n expert on hand to guide me. As you can imagine they weren’t without errors and it was time to let go of them. I gather that burning baskets is like an initiation ceremony, that the baskets have improved sufficiently to let go of the less successful versions. The smell of the willow burning was lovely, one of them had a collection of dried sage in it so even more pungent in the cold night air.

Next week, I start a masterclass weaving session. The idea is that I teach basketry at an easy beginners pace, with the idea that the students then consolidate their learning by teaching another group. Speed, peer learning , I think it could be really good. the first objective is an egg basket made with both dry and fresh willow….it might also be time to forage for some clematis too!