Shallow baskets…

I have been playing around with different shallow baskets. The top design has a Catalan base, the middle picture is an Irish skib and the bottom picture is a standard stake and strand basket with a plaited border.

I love the variety in style and colour that you can achieve with relatively small changes to technique and willow choices.

Tickety Boo Garden Cafe…

Lots of weaving going on today at the Tickety Boo Garden Cafe. Plant supports and bird feeders. It’s a beautiful place to work in the middle of a garden centre with lovely views of the orchard and chickens scratching around.

Everyone did really well. All the folk weaving the bird feeders in the afternoon also made a plant support in the morning. The confidence they gained in the morning handling the material and getting to grips with the vocabulary really paid off in the afternoon. They made their pieces in super quick time.

Spring wreath…

It’s been a glorious day, the first of a few this week. I harvested my small willow patch a month ago. It was so sad looking that I’ve ignored the small branchy bundle until today. The sun made me feel alive enough to do something with it. So I made a spring wreath for the workshop door.

The muntjac have essentially been using the garden as a salad bar for months. There are so many breaches in the fence around the garden, the whole thing needs replacing. Clearly willow shoots taste yummy. I’m not impressed but their free snack days are numbered.

Bird feeder workshop…

The sun was shining this morning in Sudbury at Simply Handmade. Not that we noticed as we were concentrating very hard weaving bird feeders.

These little baskets are so useful for many indoor and outdoor uses from holding suet balls to fairy lights, lemons to garlic.

Thank you to all the folk that took part. Delightful to meet you. Thanks also to Debbi and Colin for their hospitality at the studio.

The following photos show concentration silence at its best. 😊

Spiderweb…

I started this sample cane seating weave in March with my basketry group, The Basketry Collective.

Anita Vozik led half the group through rush seating and the other half through this spiderweb weave. It has seven layers which build up quite easily. The hardest part is threading the cane through as the holes become smaller and smaller with increasing layers. Layers six and seven require a certain degree of patience!

Many thanks to Anita for her brilliant tuition and all the preparatory work she did for the group. You can see Anita’s upholstery and seating skills on Instagram @anita_vozik

L’al Yak…

This ‘little oak’ shoulder bag is the product of four days hard work at the Basketmakers’ Association Spring school in York. The course was taught by the fab Lorna Singleton who lives in the Lake District and is one of the few remaining Basketmakers working with oak in this country making swills and other traditional baskets.

I’ve learnt a huge amount about preparing the oak and how it behaves whilst weaving. It is a beautiful material and although it was difficult at times I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The leather work was also new to me and I hope to put those new skills to good use on my baskets in the future.

Thanks to all those that organised the courses from the BA especially Jill Witham and Nadine Anderson. Thanks to Lorna for sharing her skills with such kindness and patience and thanks to the other lovely basket makers I shared the week with.

Playing with ovals…

The children’s rhyme ‘rain rain go away’ springs to mind today. But the inclement weather has given me an opportunity to practice oval bases.

This basket was made on an English oval base. The difference between English ovals and continental bases is that the base sticks aren’t split. It’s a really simple but clever construction, no tools required.

I also made a French oval, with some cane wrapping around the base sticks.

Take a seat…

I bought this chair at Diss auction a couple of years ago. It’s taken me a while, working on it in my spare time, but it’s finally finished. It’s the standard six-way cane pattern.

Its beautiful out this afternoon, what a contrast to last week!

It’s going in the living room by the fire, I just need to cover the seat cushion. I’m thinking something by William Morris. 😊

Coiling and thawing…

I spent yesterday afternoon coiling this small basket and lid whilst watching Suffolk thaw. It was a super simple stitch using chunky sash cord for a core and jute twine for stitching.

This morning whilst trying to take a photo of it I realised what I really needed was a light diffusing box. So I cobbled one together from an old cardboard box and tissue paper. After scrambling around for a couple of lamps I don’t think the results are too bad. I would love to get my hands on a third lamp and play about with light coming from above as well.

Rush tote…

Just finished this rush tote bag sample. I’m teaching a class in September. Yes I know, it’s February, but I prefer to have lessons planned out well in advance.

After selecting, cleaning and cutting the rushes to the correct length a check weave base is made to fit a pre-prepared mold. This must be tied onto the mold to hold it in place.

The sides were woven with a mixture of pairing, waling and checkweave. At the top of the mold I put on a simple pull down border before adding rope handles.