My introduction to basketry techniques was at primary school – a cane tray with a plywood base (which I still use!) The opportunity to pursue this craft didn’t arise until some thirty something years later when, at a local agricultural show, I met with a basketmaker who was advertising a beginner’s course. That short course of just a few hours a week for eight weeks was all it took to get me hooked on basketmaking for life! Shortly afterwards I met Liz Balfour, founder member of the Scottish Basketmakers’ Circle, and signed up to join. I soon met many others who were equally passionate about basketmaking and found a new outlet for my creative energy. I subsequently spent ten years as an active member of the SBC committee.
Fascinated by the variety of basketmaking techniques and materials used world wide, I am constantly experimenting. Over my twenty seven years of basket making I have taken numerous courses with professional basket makers including many international tutors, building on the traditional skills and techniques and also gaining experience of a wide range of materials. My work has been included in several exhibitions across Central Scotland and more recently in Surrey.
I am a keen gardener and grow many plants which not only give me pleasure but also provide me with materials at the end of the season – it is so much more rewarding to make a basket from plants which I have nurtured. I have a small area of the garden dedicated to growing basketmaking willows which provide me with a variety of fine rods for weaving and different coloured barks from the thicker rods, which are stripped in the spring. I am currently working with various barks to make baskets and sculptural pieces. The texture and markings of older bark are particularly interesting to work with and often inspire the design of unique forms.
Pieces in the exhibition:
- ‘4-2-1’ – Double-walled basket
This piece was designed using home grown willow bark, creating a pattern by selectively halving the width of the bark strips in several stages, starting with 1” wide strips.
- ‘Inside Out’ – Eight cornered basket
This basket was woven with one of my favourite willows from the garden and was designed to highlight the contrasting colours of the inside and outside of the bark.
- ‘Caged Pebble’ – Bark vase
Mature wych elm bark, when peeled from a log, was wrapped around an empty wine bottle to prevent it from curling as it dried. The resulting shape suggested a vase, which was later completed using a combination of weaving and stitching. The rippled texture and natural markings of the bark contrast with a smooth pebble woven into a cut-out window.
All dimensions are approximate and show the overall width x height, including frame.
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