BASKET WEAVING WITH WILLOW 

1 or 2 Day Beginners or Intermediate Willow Weaving Workshops

Whether you have some basic skills or no skills at all, this workshop will be tailored to suit your needs. Perhaps you need some extra support in developing your skills or you wish to experiment with new techniques but not brave enough to do it on your own. Numbers will be kept to a maximum of three in a group, and also 1-1 workshops can be arranged.

 

These workshops will take place in a relaxed and sociable setting. You will learn how to handle willow, prepare it for weaving and learn about the most useful tools to work with. You will be instructed in as many techniques as you are prepared to learn, the most essential weaving techniques are 'pairing', 'randing' 'slewing' and the 'three/four or five rod wale', which you will get a chance to practice. We will create a sampler basket that includes all these weaves. You will also learn to do 'French randing' and French slewing', which can be slightly more challenging but the outcome is far superior to ordinary randing. I would guide you every step of the way.

You will also learn to create a strong border to finish your basket with, and the option to create handles for your basket. Lids are more complex and achievable only if undertaking a 2 day workshop.

Depending on the time of year, there will be an option to work with either green or semi green willow and dogwoods with a lovely range of colours. When out of season, you will certainly be working with dried willow that has been soaked for up to 5 days. I grow up to 12 different varieties nearby, so hope to offer this range as the plot matures.

Weaving is immensely satisfying, engaging and good for your wellbeing. It is a great way to reconnect with nature, through working with natural materials, whilst also developing your creativity. When you feel confident in your newly acquired skills, you will be able to create hand made gifts and share your skills with others.
 

Venue: Silverwood Studio

Cost:

£75 for one day (group price), which includes all the materials. Numbers will be limited to 3.

1-1 sessions would be charged at £75 for a half day session or £150 for a full day.

Gift tokens for someone to attend a workshop are available on request. 

History

The history of willow weaving in Britain goes back to about 150 BC. Willow was extensively used for basket making, fencing, as building material for houses and as river side or harbour revetments. It is one of the most flexible green woods when coppiced regularly.

 

The introduction of plastics in the early part of the 20th century, was responsible for a demise in the use of willow. However in recent years, there has been a revival of interest in rural crafts and a new appreciation of craftsmanship and an aesthetic appreciation for woven materials in the home and garden.

Willow is fast growing, there are hundreds of different varieties for different uses; they come in a diverse range of colours and thickness and are effective as flood defences alongside riverbanks. Willow is now considered a renewable energy source and the demand for the material has been increasing. Willow has also become a popular material with artists who create large scale sculptures, installations and living willow structures.