#MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram Posts – Week 4
Taking part in the popular #MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram, 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. The final week…. Enjoy! Sarah X
Day 22. Hands on: #marchmeetthemaker Hands on!
Day 23. Day 23. Job/s: #marchmeetthemaker Poignant day. Been thinking about what I’ve missed most during this past year. Work wise it’s definitely been the lack of collaborative commissions; making, creating, teaching and communicating in person with wonderful people. That shared experience of fear and euphoria, of hatching a plan and seeing it through to the prize!
So I thought I’d share with you one of my past favourite jobs, a commission I undertook for Linley of London in 2016. Alongside Coates English Willow and Tattie Rose Flowers, as part of Belgravia In Bloom, for Chelsea week we created Linleys shop front display.
It was the moment that willow marched up from the Somerset Levels and swept down the Pimlico Road. From contemporary willow planting pods to woven hares and even traditional laundry baskets, we crafted and spun together this award winning display.
I love the 3rd photo of the team, flanked by Jonathan and Nicola Coate, when we’d just finished a long day’s work. I remember teaching a willow weaving workshop in the shop, thrilled but oh so scared that I was going to wack willow rods into incredibly beautiful furniture. One of my other highlights was standing opposite Linleys and watching passerby’s stop, take photos and just smile at the wonderful display.
Hoping that one day soon amazing collaborative commissions will prevail again! #marchmeetthemaker2021 @coatesenglishwillow @tattieroseflowers
Day 24 Wrapped & packaged: I’m taking this #marchmeetthemaker2021 prompt to talk about my offering a complete gift voucher ‘package’ for my Willow Day workshops.
If you’ve ever wanted to weave willow or make a basket, but never known where to start, I teach one and two day workshops. You get to choose and create a basket, (today’s photos show the different types), and I get to introduce you to my willowy world.
Held at Coates English Willow on the Somerset Levels in South West England, we spend the day weaving together at the very heart of the UK’s basketmaking heritage and willow growing land.
Willow Day workshops are often given as birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts… and that’s where my gift voucher service comes in!
Having a gift voucher entitles you to priority booking, enabling you to secure your first choice of workshop before I publicise these dates.
I’m incredibly fortunate in that I’ve built up an amazing demand for my Willow Day workshops. This does now mean that they become fully booked by lucky gift voucher recipients and those on my mailing list. I rarely get the opportunity to release dates to the general public!
What I’m attempting to heavily hint at is that if you’d like to experience a Willow Day or have someone special in mind who would love to weave a willow basket, then it’s best to purchase one of my gift vouchers by going to www.sarahlebreton.co.uk/contact and filling out my enquiry form, (I’ll then reply with all my lovely gift voucher details).
You can also sign up at my webpage to my mailing list. 3 times a year you’ll then receive my newsletter containing my next set of Willow Day workshop dates and news about my latest events and commissions.
I’m so looking forward to a time soon when I’ll be back in the teaching flow, we’ll be again filling our arms full of willow and together weaving wonderful baskets.
Day 25 Starting Point: #marchmeetthemaker2021
Having a leap of faith a couple of years ago and taking on a T2 new bay VW campervan for which I dreamt of a handcrafted interior.
Today Nigella my campervan gained an absolute head twister of a white willow basket. Not because I used as many traditional English basketmaking techniques as possible, but because I was dealing with only a couple of straight edges and incorporating the space where the spare tyre used to live. It’s a very bespoke basket indeed…
Photos show the crazy shape of the basket and process from start to finish.
The perfectionist in me sees a mish-mash of cornering on the border, the rest of me is just very relieved that my new bed linen basket fits! When I get a chance, I’ll jazz up the basket with scarlet red leather and gold buckles. I reckon this will complement the rest of my now rather unique campervan.
So where did Nigella’s spare tyre go? Why it’s on the front of my van, under a traditional tied slath base willow cover!
My Finishing point? Ah! I don’t think I can bring myself to finish crafting my campervan’s interior. They’ll always be one more idea, one more bespoke basket to fit in, she is after all my lockdown sanity project…
Perhaps though, when we’re all released, I’ll get to head down Cornwall’s Atlantic highway on a sunny late Spring day, I’ll be wearing those 😎 and smiling like a loon! After all, I’ll have made my crafted campervan dream come true and the adventures will start again!
Day 26. Favourite: #marchmeetthemaker2021 I Loved creating sculptural white willow lampshades for Creative Spaces at Marchmont House on the Scottish Borders. At the time, during the first UK lockdown I’d been focussed upon practicing heritage baskets, so it was great to let my sculptural side rip and make these bee hive shaped, natural white willow organic forms.
Coincidentally, they’ve just snuck today into a @marchmonthouse Insta story (my 2nd photo). Thank you! I can’t wait to hopefully one day see them for myself all lit up in the communal room at Marchmont’s Creative Spaces.
Photos today also show them drying outside my workshop and en route to Marchmont in my campervan last August. Weaving willow takes you on quite an amazing journey…
Day 29 #marchmeetthemaker on Day 31… (Bear with me – it’s been a busy couple of days!)
Having just found out what a “Reel” is, I’m going to rebel against fast paced, rollicking sound, flashing lights and… new creative tools (what on earth are they?!)
Instead, here’s “clip”: slower paced weaving, willow clacking, birds chatting, sun shining and using traditional basketmaking tools….old iron weight and fingertip creativity…
Day 30 Range: #marchmeetthemaker2021 Yep still stretching March out! My willow lampshade range has been sculpted! Here’s a peak at one of my designs…
Designed to fit in both timeless and modern interiors. This striking handwoven lampshade highlights the beauty of white willow. The natural curve of the willow is dramatically emphasised through the use of a more formal rope coil weave.
Small (approx, w35cm x h20cm) £85. Medium (approx, w50cm x h25cm) £155. Large (approx, w75cm x h30cm) £265.
Other bespoke sizes and colours made to order – find out more by heading to sarahlebreton.co.uk
Day 31: Future #marchmeetthemaker2021 I’m already here! Weaving willow takes you on a “magnifique, beautiful, beautiful” journey (On yesterday’s post these were the only 3 words of the only 3 comments about my work) – and I love them!
Weaving, it’s inseparable from everything I do, everything I am. It is my language, my way, my life.
A basketmaking life, it’s really not for the faint hearted, but if the fates allow, you do meet the most incredible people. They share your values, you all exist within a nurturing place, one of mutual respect. They spark creative ideas, make you stretch that little bit more with confidence. They weave you into their vision, their lives. They offer you acceptance, not just for your work, but for you, that you are meant to be here in life, experiencing this, in this time, right here, right now.
These wonderful people, they are The belief weavers. Master creators and masters of their craft. It’s a joy to know them. It’s happiness just to know they are weaving their dreams, their experiences and their beings.
What they are doing is making our world a greater place. In sharing their vision, sharing their creating, sharing their craft, they help us to adventure wide, to experience more fully and to bring ourselves home.
First 2 photos are of me last Friday, putting in basket handles, making Dadda, Mama and Daughter baskets, chatting, laughing, soaking up the sunshine, taking in the amazing Somerset view. Time with two amazing belief weavers. @halolorraine
Photos 3 and 4 are of the Common room at Marchmont’s Creative Spaces. Posted yesterday by @marchmonthouse @marchmontcreativespaces Every time I see a photo showing the willow lampshades that I made for this space, the distance melts away, I smile and I feel part of their community. I love that my work looks and feels as though it has been woven into the fabric of the place. An incredible place created by another master belief weaver.
Since my teens I’ve thought of my life as a three dimensional woven tapestry. I became the weave and the weaver. So the future? It’s simple – I weave.