Willow Hearts and wreaths…

I just love Redgrave and Lopham Fen. It is a beautiful place to be and to teach. Today saw 14 students in the morning and another 14 in the afternoon making and decorating willow wreaths and hearts. I also showed them how to make small stars from willow to embellish their pieces.

It was a superb day, I thoroughly  enjoy watching people being so creative. People made beautiful things and I hope they’re really pleased with them.

As the sun began to set the starlings began their murmuation and a barn owl began hunting. It was a lovely end to the day.

New start… 

This basket used a start that i had never tried with willow. Four lots of six base sticks crossing over each other. They were actually full six foot rods. A lot of weights were used to hold everything in place.

The groups of base sticks were gradually subdivided into singles and bent up to form the side stakes. I replaced some of the butt ends before finishing the border but now wish I had replaced them all. It would have made the border more even. Instead it looks like a bit of a dogs breakfast!

A good experiment though. Which I hope to repeat.

Cat basket…

When a student asked if she could make a cat basket I said yes immediately.  I had never made a pet basket before so I learnt some new techniques myself. Especially how to finish the notch neatly.

This is useful when making letter trays as well. In fact I’m sure there many other applications.

I really enjoyed making this piece although my husband is highly allergic to cats so it will have to find an owner else where!

Complex linking…

This piece of work has taken a while to finish. It’s a sculptural piece based on a postcard of scalded skin cells. It will be part of an exhibition that my group hope to put on. Each member received a post card from the Welcome Collection to use as inspiration. The work that has been produced is really interesting and varied.

I used chair cane to make the piece. The weaving technique is called complex linking. It is used in Mexico for making hammocks. In this instance I started at a corner to create the shapes.

The shapes were dyed after weaving. Cane takes fabric dye really well so I used the same method with this piece. However the shiny surface of the chair cane didn’t take the colour well and it all looked rather insipid!  So I spray painted it and now it’s very pink.


After posting photos of the knotted key rings, a friend asked me to make her some monkey fist knot earrings for a pirate party she is attending. So here are my efforts.
The first pair are made from paper string, the second from twine. They were easy to tie but fairly fiddly to tighten. Each one has a wooden bead inside which isn’t heavy.
I think the paper string gives good definition. The twine is much softer. Hope my friend likes them!


I’ve been making knotted key rings for the upcoming craft fair. They are fun and fairly straightforward to make. I highly recommend DesPawson’s ‘Knot Craft’ book.

The knots are a mixture of monkey fists, flat and spiral Portuguese sennits and Boatswain’s whistle lanyard knots.
Great stocking fillers… although it’s far too soon to be thinking about that.

Another log basket… 

It’s that time of year, it’s starting to get colder and we all want to restock the wood pile.

I finished this basket today in preparation for the Master crafts fair in Botesdale on 3rd December. It will be on sale there along with other baskets! The fair plays host to a wide range of crafts people and is held in the village hall.

The basket is made from white and buff willow. The bottom section of weaving is a double French rand which I rather like doing. French randing is fab for growing the sides quite quickly.

Log basket….

I made this a couple of weeks ago for a friend.  It was a present from her husband and a secret. I’m very glad he’s given it her so I can share it but also don’t have to remember not to talk about it!
I used brown and white willow. The sides were woven with English randing. Taking each willow rod across two stakes on the first stroke of each round produces the prominent spiral you can see.