Ilona Traut-MacLeod grew up in Germany in the beautiful area of the Black Forest. Having worked in different countries she finally left her job as a Biologist behind and settled in Scotland. She now lives with her husband on a croft on the Isle of Skye. Making baskets was a life long dream which became possible 10 years ago. She grows her own willow and has over the years planted many varieties. Ilona likes to experiment with different ideas and materials. “I am inspired by nature and hardly ever come back from my walks without bits of bark, shells, roots or wood in my backpack. I can see them as part of a basket. Sometimes it works.” She has been attending courses with Joe Hogan, Lise Bech, Jane Wilkinson, Jenny Crisp and other excellent teachers over the years. In 2013 and 2015 she exhibited her work, together with Monique Bervoets and Sally MacDonald in Isle Ornsay Gallery.
Work for this exhibition:
1) Willow heart: I grow a variety of willow which gives me a choice of beautiful natural colours. The willow heart is a sample of all the varieties. It is woven in a technique known as random weave. Each rod needs to be prepared individually by smoothing it to allow for the tight weave.
2) Pod: Inspired by Joe Hogan’s work I have been experimenting with different kinds of wood. This pod incorporates a piece from an ash tree that was given to me by Martin Walsh. The basket is woven upside down. Unlike other baskets the base is woven at the very end. It is an interesting process as you can only see the finished object once you turn it over.
3) Antler basket: I wove my first antler basket 8 years ago using deer antlers my husband found on the croft as a handle. It is still used on a daily basis as our kindling basket. The antlers from this basket come from Knoydart, the willow from the Isle of Skye.
4) Larch nest: I did not appreciate how complex bird’s nests are until I made an attempt to weave one. The larch for this nest was gathered in Litir Fura on the Isle of Skye.
All dimensions are approximate and show the overall width x height, including frame.
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