Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Baskets v Sculptures


Baskets v Sculptures

I have been busy working on some ideas for this years festivals. In early spring I start to pin down ideas and shapes and themes for sculptures whilst at the same time trying to make some baskets to keep the pennies coming in until the sculptures are out and about through the summer. Last year the workload was too stressful so I decided to stop the majority of teaching and concentrate on making. It's now or never and luckily it's working out fine. The spare time has allowed me to play around with my basket shapes and methods. When I found myself with a load of left over 7 and 8 foot Black Maul willow from a sculpture workshop I searched around for log basket ideas and came across some Jenny Crisp ones on the Tinsmiths website. Inspired by the shape and the randing with the butt of each rod on the outside to create a spiralling pattern I made about 8 Big Fetch The Logs which I loved and so did a few others too. The exaggerated fluted shape and the chunkiness of the willow worked well a design I will definitely repeat. I have been trying to find another way with ovals. Two versions on a theme one for going out not much to carry called Telleri, and another bigger one, called Miss Jones, enough to carry it all but colourful and fun. I imagine a teacher in a schoolroom with one sat next to her desk or with my sister on the beach with picnic and towel. I've had some very bright colours to play with too, Green Dicks and Flanders Red being my favourites, using the finest rods and a flash of thin Dogwood. I will use up the rest of my short stuff in the making of a few more but there won't be many as I haven't that much left. I've given them little shell twists as well at the handles to decorate them, like the way bolts of willow where once tied. Basket making is a distraction and a delight... But..Sculpture requests are beckoning too and I have finalised all my ideas for the the summer. I have one more proposal to put forward which will take me into an area I haven't had the space time to explore before so I am hoping it all works out. Watch my blog for future posts. Meanwhile what do you think of my Fetch the Logs and Miss Joneses?

Willow Harvest


Spring is delayed, thankfully, as I am behind with the harvesting of this seasons willow. Yesterday afternoon was spent at Poppit cutting the two year old stuff in double quick time with the help of three teens, thank you Izaac, Connie and Kinkaris. Tonight Izaac helped me stuff it into the back of our new Sprinter. Ready for action. He has been a real star. Last week he helped me create another mother of a willow bed in St Dogmaels. With the one over at the National Wool Museum in Drefach Felindre, he dug in for me in December, that makes 1,400 future trees this year. All useful hard to source basketmaking varieties. So thank you again, my amazing son and to Alpey too, my new tree buddy, for finding me the ground. I am so excited. I couldn't have done it without you.