Thursday, 24 November 2016

World of Bushcraft Willow Basketry Workshop

I'm getting to see the world of Bushcraft Centre rather a lot at the moment and a recent trip up to a basketry workshop was my fourth of six workshops. And to a trip to Africa which has taken several members out of the picture instructor Jay took the helm for a change. 


I know Jay so he needed no introduction and after a brew and a quick chat we got started. My previous trip to Bedford was to cover coil basketry so this workshop seemed like a good progression. 

The Willow had been soaked for several days (a day for every foot of length) and the first task was to select six fairly even wands to make the centre of the basket.

The thicker lengths were then selected and cut accordingly.


And then we were off, adding meat to the base with Jay regularly checking on my progress and answering any questions.

The one thing that I found out was that despite being a fairly sedentary activity you do get quite warm doing it. You'll see that I've taken my fleece off in the above pictures.


I was actually rather surprised with how long it took me to complete the base. Was I slow or methodical? Probably both but eventually it was done. I would have like the weave a little more organised but hey, it was my first basket and a quick tidy up with some secerteurs made quite a difference.

And we then needed to put a point on a small piece of Hazel as we looked to turn our bases into 'spiders' for making the sides.

We spaced out at this stage because the spider shape is a bit of an area denial structure and it  would smart rather if it caught an eye.

And again a little slow/ methodical as you can see Jay took a breather whilst I faffed my spokes to conclusion.

A quick piece of cordage to hold the structure.

And then we built up the sides. Finishing off is arguably the most fiddly bit and therefore it's not a project that ends itself to being finished as 'homework'. Jay was a trooper and went beyond the session's time and indeed the centre's closing time to see me done. Top man. He also made me more tea than Joseph (who often does the workshops) so take note young man! 😏

And this is my basket straight out of the bag the next morning. jay advised that I give it a little bit of manipulation to get the shape set just how I want it and it's coming along nicely. A great workshop and one that was more demanding than I think I'd given credit for.

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