Make creating a basket one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2023! – 8/1/23
With the current way of the world as it is, making a basket may not be right now on your ‘essential’ list, but actually I believe that creating a basket at one of my workshops is a great gift for yourself or your loved ones.
At one of my 1 or 2 day workshops you will not only create your chosen basket, but whether you are a beginner or have some existing willow weaving experience you will be importantly gifting yourself the time and space to play, to explore, to learn, to be inspired and to be among a lovely, always lively bunch of fellow weavers.
If we let it, it’s amazing what weaving willow can do for us. Not only is there something truly wonderful about creating a basket for yourself that you can hold and use for years, but there’s an amazing, almost magical experience that can happen when you connect with willow and the act of weaving. You may have heard of ‘being in the flow’, a phrase increasingly used to describe the feeling encountered when immersed in craft forms including basket making. When the rhythm and repetition of making absorbs and calms the mind into a meditative, even zen like state. In such moments weaving becomes restorative and bliss filled, a place where we can meet and find ourselves again.
Weaving with willow creates connection, not just to ourselves and others; but to nature, to our roots. This amazing plant encourages us to explore our land, both in the growing, harvesting and in the seeking of knowledge about our craft.
If we choose to listen, willow as a weaving material does offer us a great and immediate teacher. When making baskets, through the very act of holding, moving and transforming of willow rods we connect with the plant’s life force. We are offered the exploration of a vitality that I feel chooses not to be tamed, not to be overpowered, but with each movement needs to be respected and honoured. We glimpse the respect and honour that we need to give to nature itself, to ourselves and to each other.
I do not have adequate words to express what I so far know of this vitality, of this life force and of my place within this journey. But what I can say is that I draw strength from my willow weaving, hold hope within and continue step by step to explore. Looking up from writing this, looking around this room in my home, what I can see is that I have surrounded myself with baskets, not words. These baskets have been created by those that have gone before me or have been made by myself. In each baskets’ creation is expressed our individual and collective making, our existence, and in this moment I am reminded again that I exist to weave with you the past, present and the future.
If you would like to join me in making a willow basket please head to my workshop web page Places currently available for my January – April workshops with new summer dates being announced soon. Wishing you all a Happy New Year, Sarah X
PS. This portrait photo shows me and this weeks New Year’s exploration, an initial interpretation of a heritage basket known as an Ose, Hen, Skye or Gathering basket. Ten years ago this was one of the first baskets that I ever made and last summer I gave myself the opportunity to travel to the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides and visit the place and wonderful community that made and popularised this basket in the 20th Century. One of my projects that I am currently developing is to further explore the rich heritage of this basket, gift myself the time to explore the basket’s form and create my ultimate modern version.