Making baskets and sculptures in willow is my absolute passion.  Woven willow can transform our landscape with beautiful, functional objects and inspirational sculptural pieces.

Having become increasingly passionate about willow basketry and traditional craftsmanship, basket maker and sculptor Sarah Le Breton is now increasingly concentrating on marrying traditional English basket forms and techniques with a sculptural twist.

Based in South West England, nine years ago Sarah established a successful freelance teaching business creating bespoke willow courses in sculpture and basketry and has since been involved in projects throughout the UK and Europe. Clients include Linley of London, River Cottage, RHS and the Soho House Group.

In recent years Sarah has concentrated on teaching ‘Willow Day Workshops’ at Coates English Willow on the Somerset Levels and currently teaches these 4 days per month. On every Willow Day Sarah takes students on a mini tour of Coates; this includes talking about our willow growing heritage, the Coates basket collection and commercial willow processing. Sarah also introduces students to the commercial basketmakers and showcases their latest work.

Sarah is also involved in education and research projects, seeking not only to celebrate our basket making and willow industry heritage but also to examine our present use of willow and work towards a sustainable and innovative future. Projects in both the UK and abroad have enabled Sarah to gain experience of teaching basket making to disadvantaged adults, children, the elderly and non-English speakers.

Commissions, research, bursaries and competitions have included: Cockpit Arts Basketmakers’ Professional Development Programme 2021. HCA Emergency Covid-19 Grant 2020.  Worshipful Company of Basketmakers’ Charitable Trust BA Spring School Bursary 2019.  HCA/QEST Finalist 2018. Winner Award of Excellence for Best Floral Display, Belgravia in Bloom 2016 for Linley of London in collaboration with Tattie Rose Flowers & Coates English Willow. Up-and-Coming Maker for the Stakeholders Project at the Museum of English Rural Life 2013 and competition winner of the Light Fantastic Wearable Parade at the Basketry Beyond Festival, 2013.

Sarah is a member of the Heritage Crafts Association, the Basketmakers’ Association and of Basketmakers South West.

When creating with willow, I am constantly enthused by how accessible to all this friendly natural material is; and that time and time again, I see how willow also weaves a sense of self belief into those who play!  Having taught willow basket making and sculpture to all abilities, from young children right up to those of a wonderful grand old age, my belief is that anyone who plays with willow can create something that they are excited about and delighted with.

As part of my BA Degree I studied Medieval Art at Exeter University, this led to me rediscovering my passion for art and my need to create.  Having received no formal art schooling, I completed an Art Foundation NVQ at Exeter College and subsequently worked for a commercial bespoke weaving company in the Blackdown Hills.  Later I gained valuable experience at Dartington College of Arts where as Creative Enterprise Manager I helped raise awareness of the Creative Industries in the South West including managing artist seminars, music symposiums, and organising the Devon Arts Conference.  After gaining an NVQ in Creative Business Management I launched fully into my creative practice in 2006.  Since then willow sculpting and basketmaking has taken me on an incredible journey.

Public commissions, teaching, project clients and business development include

Cockpit Arts Basketmakers' Professional Development Programme February - June 2021
Willow Basketmaking Workshops 2019 to present
RHS Rosemoor Willow Basketmaking Workshops 2019 to present
Willow Basketmaking & Sculpture Workshops 2018, 2019 to present
Willow Basketmaking Workshops, 2016, 2019
Willow Day workshops at Coates English Willow 2010 to present
Linley of London, Belgravia in Bloom (with Coates English Willow and Tattie Rose Flowers) May 2016
Royal Bath & West Show with Coates English Willow June 2015
Superact CIC - Netplants Project 2015-16; Handmade Wellbeing Project February 2016; Creative Times with Guinness Partnership & Support Project 2015, Craft Schools Project 2014
School Willow Sculpture Workshops 2013-2015
Cowslip Workshops 2014-15
Stakeholders Project at MERL December 2013
Basketry & Beyond Festival competition winner May 2013