#MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram Posts
My third week taking part in the popular #MarchMeetTheMaker. I’ve decided to create a weekly news update that contains these daily posts. Here you can find out more about my creative business, the commissions that I undertake and the life I lead. Enjoy! Sarah X
Day 15: Focus & priorities #marchmeetthemaker Nearly 2 years ago now, these words slammed into me and took hold. So I embroidered them that evening, (in Jane Austen ‘font’ of course!) and placed the embroidery in my stairwell. I like to think that my girls and I absorb these words every time we pass by.
I finally had realised just how lucky I am to know and believe in myself. I knew that my destiny, both in work and life, was all and only down to me.
So I dream big, live my truth and walk my own path.
Day 16: From the archive #marchmeetthemaker The beautiful collection of baskets we created at the Basketmakers’ Association Spring School 2019 in York. The brilliant Eddie Glew taught us in detail and depth how to make Squarework willow baskets.
I’m still very proud of my basket, (mine’s the white one on the right). I was very lucky to receive a bursary so that I could attend and alongside Jackie, (pictured in the 3rd photo with me), we were the weaving Squarework newbies in the class.
It was just so great to be around many other basketmakers and kindred spirits, some whose work I’d admired for years, others who immediately made me feel so welcome.
I think that this was the moment, in my own eyes, that I knew I could became a professional basketmaker. @blithfieldwillowcrafts @dragonwillow42 @louiserougharoundthehedges @karen_lawrence_basketry
Day 17: Process #marchmeetthemaker Making natural white willow is a pretty intensive process. I thought I’d share this photo of myself, which always makes me smile. I think I’m looking ever so glam doing something incredibly dangerous!
Last June Coates English Willow were incredibly kind in letting me loose on their stripping machine so that I could make enough of my favourite type of willow for creating my lampshades and willow seating Arts & Crafts chairs.
The 1930’s machine that you can see is in effect a massive fast revolving drum covered in hooks that rip the bark from each willow rod. Prior to this the cut Black Maul variety willow has spent a few months sitting about 12” deep in water. In early summer, once the sap begins to rise, the willow rods can be peeled.
The natural white willow at Coates is all still stripped this way. It takes a huge amount of physical strength and nerves of steel. There’s quite a knack to revealing the beautiful white rods without shredding yourself as well!
Last June I posted on Instagram a couple of short clips of me using this stripping machine, however if you’d like to see how the professionals do this watch the 2 minute video clip of John, (with a handful of willow about 6 times the size of mine!) on my next post.
Day 18: Colour #marchmeetthemaker Colour? I love colour! Every wall in my home is pretty brightly painted, (so much so that my oldest daughter has declared how when she gets her own place all her walls will be painted white!)
Though when it comes to willow, although it comes in the most incredible vibrant range of colours, almost none of them make my heart skip a beat like when I look upon freshly peeled white willow. It’s silky, it’s creamy and it feels like there’s nowhere to hid imperfections when it’s woven.
Until pretty recently I hadn’t realised that as commercial white willow ages it becomes creamier in colour, deepening to almost reach a buff colour in old age. Conversely, commercial buff willow begins a honey like colour and over time will bleach out to be the colour of clotted cream!
Earlier this week I made part of a base to a very unusual basket and just loved how the staking up process looked pretty sculptural in the afternoon light.
Enjoying really having to get all technical in my head when making this one of a kind basket – That is unless someone else would like a storage basket for a vehicle that will sit in the space left by a spare wheel tyre…
Day 19: (On Day 20…) Silver Linings #marchmeetthemaker
This week I found myself in a book, not reading one, but actually in one from page 30!
Tor McIntosh’s lovely book ‘Slow Adventures: Unhurriedly Exploring Britain’s Wild Places’ has just been published by the National Trust. Tor writes about 36 immersive adventures all over the UK, one of which is Willow Weaving and Starling Murmurations on the Somerset Levels.
Tor attended one of my Basket Willow Day workshops held at Coates English Willow on the Somerset Levels.
I love Tor’s chapter opening, ” ‘What I think you should make is a free-weave basket,’ enthused Sarah. ‘You’ll need to do big arm movements with the willow, which will be just like the flowing movement of a starling murmuration.’ It all sounded a bit too bohemian and free-spirited for my liking, especially for someone nicknamed ‘ruler’ I my college art class due to my preference for straight lines and precision. But charmed by Sarah’s enthusiasm….”
Slow Adventures is a great book, I’m inspired by Tor, she’s an amazing woman. I very much learnt on my Scotland road trip last year that it’s the incredible people that you meet along the way that make the journey so special – they often are the “silver linings”.
Hopefully, as the world opens up again I’ll be able to head off in Nigella my campervan once more and go find my own exciting adventures….
My Willow Day workshops at Coates recommence on the 23rd April = hurrah!!! For details and booking info head to www.sarahlebreton.co.uk
Day 20 & 21 Weekend: These days have no theme, it’s optional to post!