My basketry is influenced by horticulture and the natural world. During ten years as a therapeutic horticulture practitioner, working with plants and natural materials, I developed a fascination with how plants can be used to create useful and beautiful items beyond their life in the garden.
Basketry became a way for me to relax and empty my head and I quickly became fascinated with the huge variety of baskets being made around the world. The meditative nature of weaving forces me to concentrate on what is in my hands and not be distracted by all the other things my mind could wander to.
As I read more about the history and development of basketry, I started to understand why it was meaningful to me. The social and cultural significance of this slow craft, and the stories attached to the baskets and the people making them, are part of our heritage and deserve to be preserved. Learning and passing on these skills is an important part of preserving the heritage of basketry.
The process of weaving a basket starts with growing the materials. It is an investment of time and energy that eventually results in a basket. I started growing my own willows in 2018 and now have 30 varieties of basketry willow, selected for their different properties.
The cycle of growing the materials allows me to work outside and observe how the willow grows and supports wildlife. The amazing thing about willow is that at every stage of its growth it is beneficial. Willow provides habitat, food, fuel, medicine, increases biodiversity and soil health... all before it is woven into a basket!