This blog is an extension of the gallery of the BasketrySA website.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Willow Workshop

                    willow workshop 1                                                                                                                       
  Basketry SA’s  Willow Workshop with Tasmanian Jed Gillian was  held at Longwood Camp in the Adelaide Hills. It was attended by 30 or so excited basket makers some who had never made a basket..
   Before the workshop could get underway we needed    to  collect willow. Last winter we pruned suitable willow and this year were greeted by suitable long branches. Many hands ensured we got it harvested and bundled in time for the workshop.
We all started the day being introduced to willow. Types of willow ,about using it fresh, and why it made great baskets.Everyone then described the type of basket they would like  to make. (many grand ideas before we came to grips with the material and its limitations.)
We all soon got underway  quickly learning what you can and can’t do with fresh willow. We discovered it needs to kink around the stakes.
We all  started on the base with 6 strong sticks , 3 which where slit to allow the other 3 to pass through. This caused a few dramas with a couple of minor cut hands plus a more serious one that needed stitches. Soon we where all back at work making our bases.
Once the bases where complete next step was to make the framework. Long rods were inserted into the base and bent upwards called ‘ upsetting’. these where held in place by waling or was it randing with 3 weavers remembering all the while to kink the willow.Getting the right shape was frustrating here we blamed the material but really we were still coming to grips with the properties of wild willow some of which had been pruned for the workshop and some which was collected as best we could from the river.
 willow workshop 2
As The weekend rolled on the baskets grew and took on their own life. Techniques  like English randing,pairing, and twining were being implemented .Then finally the borders started to finish the baskets.
Rib baskets were next and the range was equally impressive from huge to tiny mostly out of willow. There is now a new trend to have a willow rib basket tool box!
It was a great although exhausting weekend workshop. well worth every minute.Good subject,excellent tutor, good company, nice food and wine.Plus we all ended up with a basket or 2 and more importantly the knowledge and skills to make more.
So  now we await next winter and the willow basketry season. 

1 comment:

  1. It was an eminently suitable weekend for a workshop. Raining like mad and cold outside and us all warm and busy inside. Perfect. Jed was/is a great tutor and we all sought help from his vast knowledge of all things willow. Coming to grips (literally) with the unfamiliar willow material and bending it to our collective will, has left us all with a healthy respect for it. Loved it. Would do it all again.