Tidy up time…

From this…

To this…

I don’t mind the workshop being slightly messy but this wall had become a complete dumping ground. It was looking most unpleasant and I couldn’t find anything. 

My carpentry skills are limited but I’m really pleased with my efforts! 

Family chair…

Just finished reseating this little chair. It was made in the 1940’s for a little boy who now wants it for his grandchildren. 
A carpenter I know made a few modifications before I installed a sheet of cane webbing and beading. The chair didn’t have the holes necessary for hand caning but I think it looks nice with webbing too. 

Knowing that you’re extending the life of a basket or chair someone loves is always a welcome job. 

Bowl shaped basket…

Spent some time today practising the bowl shape form. This takes advantage of the natural curvature of the willow. 

I meant to stop at about half the height as my upright stakes weren’t very meaty but I got carried away! 

It was really useful to practise the things I learnt in Ireland. It’s so important to re-enforce techniques as soon as possible to really imprint them in your memory. 

My lovely daughter took the photo!  

Frame baskets…

Another fab day at the Butterfly arts and crafts studio. These lovely ladies worked very hard making willow and rush frame baskets. Well done everyone, the results speak for themselves. 
We used seagrass cordage to join two willow hoops together with a gods eye before weaving with rush and willow to complete the basket. Everyone made their basket their own with a slightly different shape and combinations of materials. We experimented with plaiting rush and making cordage to incorporate into the baskets. 

Thank you as well to the owners, Brian and Julie. They are absolutely lovely and work very hard to make the day a success. The studio is a great space to work in and the food served at morning and afternoon tea and lunch is delicious. No need to eat tomorrow! X

Basket weaving in Ireland…

I have just returned from a week in Ireland weaving under the expert guidance of basket maker Joe Hogan. Joe makes beautiful robust pieces from traditional skibs and log baskets to organic pods created around bog wood he has found and seasoned from the peat bogs near where he lives. 
It is my fourth trip to Finny where Joe runs these workshops over four days. I always learn a great deal and try to work very hard to make the most of Joe’s knowledge and experience as well as his beautiful willow. 

The photos above give an idea of the beautiful countryside and coast and the top one shows what The baskets I made during my stay. A couple of sciathogs (pronounced ski-ogue) which are frame baskets, a skib, a square log basket, an oval laundry basket and a large round recycling basket with a lid. 

It was a wonderful week with great friends. I’ll post some more photos over the next few days. B

Redgrave and Lopham Fen…

Amazing day to be at the Fen today. The weather was just right for weaving. The sun shone and the doors to the centre were open, allowing a lovely warm breeze to flow through the room. 

A group of 13 enthusiastic participants made plant supports in the morning and an equally motivated 12 came in the afternoon to make fat ball feeders. 

I delight in the joy on people’s faces when they see their creations take shape. There is a lot to take in and think about but everyone persevered and made pieces to be proud of. 

I feel really blessed to be a part of the day. 

The Butterfly Studio…

I meet so many lovely people doing my job and today was no exception. A rush workshop at the Butterfly Studio in Terling, Essex. It’s a very pretty, tranquil corner of the county. Made all the more pleasant by the warm weather today. 

The owners, Brian and Julie, couldn’t have been more welcoming. The  workshop space is bright, airy and beautifully decorated. There was a separate dining area where we were treated to a delicious lunch.  Tea and cake abounded throughout the day as well. 

 Gill, Cathy, Sandra and Sue all completed two pieces.  We started with a brush. It’s a simple project that allows students new to rush to get a feel for the material. Three of the ladies chose to make a placemat for their second piece whilst Sue plumped for a box. Both these pieces start with a central weave.  Check weave is the most straight forward but the placemats were started with an over 2 under 1 twill. This is followed by several rows of pairing before adding a border. The box was made over a mould which presents different challenges to a flat piece. 

Everyone worked really hard and they were delightful company. What a lovely start to the week. 


Rush Samples

Rush samples finished for tomorrow’s workshop at the Butterfly art and craft studio in Terling, Essex. A couple of brushes, a pot and a placemat.

I’m really looking forward to teaching rush and this photo shows you the kind of placemat you can make at my rush workshop on 26th May.