Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Learning curves

I think I've mentioned before that I've been weaving on and off for much of my adult life; admittedly more off than  on while the children were small but in the last year or two it's become a more regular pursuit and one that I am now feeling confident enough to start selling baskets. I have a regular stall at a local farmers' market; there's only been one occasion when  I haven't quite covered my costs with selling the stock from my stall, but the commissions are coming at a regular pace now and that's a lovely feeling.

I'm continually trying to learn new techniques, and ways of making my baskets a little bit individual so when the opportunity recently arose to design and submit a piece for the Basketmakers Association spring exhibition I decided to give it a go.

I was cutting it fine for time so chose to make my favourite basket shape - a gently curving round that reminds me of treasured garden pots; and then I added a feature that I learned last year, a plait. Plaited borders are reasonably straightforward but trying to work out how to get the pieces in place to plait on the sides gave me a few head scratching moments. With only a very little time to spare I put on a handle, took some photos and sent them off.

Well, the basket was judged by some of the best basketmakers in the country and sadly, it didn't come up to scratch for the exhibition - apparently they had a few traditional baskets and so those that were accepted had to be absolutely perfect. I'd be the first to admit mine has flaws.

But, after a couple of days of wanting to just pack it in and throw all the willow away I decided not to be daft, but to practice some more and try again. The original basket is on Etsy if you'd like to have a look.

I can't imagine not weaving now. It's become a huge part of who I am.


  1. You, m'lady, are SO talented. What a gorgeous basket. (Must get myself to that farmers' market...) xoxo

  2. Well, if there is a flaw, I cannot find it! I love your weaving posts - until you wrote about the different natural colors of willow available to you, I had no idea! - and I hope you will write more about your adventures in weaving.

  3. It looks pretty perfect to me!

  4. Keep it up, your baskets are great.

  5. I like your basket very much and if it was slightly imperfect it would make it more special to me. I don't like total perfection in handmade items.

  6. I like baskets very much and have quite a few, some of which I acquired years ago from the maker, so of which were created in countries far, far away by weavers I will never meet.

    I think that your plaited basket is a beauty.

    It's grand to hear that your work is getting a good reception at the farmers market.


  7. HI,
    I really like the top plait detail. That is an original addition.
    I see from your Etsy page that you are based near Cambridge. I used to live in Burwell and had several part time jobs Cambridge. Do you remember Josuha Taylors quite a few years ago? I was there for several summers.
    I have some willow at work and I can not imagine how you manage to create such lovely shapes with it. A real skill and being recognised too is great.

  8. It's Beautiful Ms.Dotty! I can't imagine the work that must go into weaving a basket -- and it looks like it would be hard on your hands! I love the plaiting too -- so pretty!

  9. It's lovely and you are very talented - I'm glad you've taken a market stall and can make money (ideally! I know these things can be a bit hit and miss at first) from your hobby as it gives you the excuse to make more. Bethx

    1. Thank you Beth! It's only a little income at present but enough to buy more tools & willow & workshops :-)

  10. It's so good that you have re-discovered your love of weaving Val because it's clear that it gives you such great pleasure and your baskets are beautiful.


Thank you for leaving me some feedback! I love reading your comments and I do my best to reply to them. If Blogger gives me your email address, or if I can find one on your blog I'll try to reply by email; otherwise I'll reply in the comments here.