John Cowan

John Cowan Flower Basket

John Cowan began making baskets aged 25 years. John has spent a considerable amount of time learning traditional basket making skills with Virgilijus Bauzys in West Kilbride after attaining grounding in the craft from Geoff Forrest. John has had many inspirational basket encounters with Lise Bech and Lise has contributed greatly to John’s understanding of willow. Many of the designs John makes are based on those recorded in Colin Manthorpe’s notebooks. John is grateful to Colin for inviting him to his home in Norfolk to learn the traditional method of making the Quarter Cran and for so generously sharing his vast skill & knowledge of basket making. John continues to spend one week every year learning basketmaking from Colin.

John’s traditional baskets are made using Scottish and English willows, and occasionally rattan when stocks are available. Most of the willow John uses is unstripped so the natural and varied colours of willow bark, as well as its ephemeral fragrance, are a feature of his baskets.

John reproduces old basket designs that were once commonplace in agriculture and the UK fishing industry, but now can be used domestically as sturdy log baskets or attractive storage baskets.


  • All dimensions are approximate and show the overall width x height, including frame.

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