I never quite got around to mentioning Helfa Gelf did I? Translated, it means Arts Trail and it's held on the weekends of September each year here in North Wales. As well as open studios there are also a variety of free workshops (held this year at the renowned Ruthin Craft Centre) to drop into.
This is the very lovely Mandy Coates, basket maker. Not only does she know her technical stuff (she's been doing this a while) but she even grows her own willow. I'm pretty astonished to see how many colours are possible from one type of tree, albeit different varieties! Her baskets are filled with as much colour as they are fabulous craftsmanship.
And so, here's my first attempt (above). I decided to make a dragonfly and Sarah chose to make a hanging bowl to use as a bird feeder. I'm not sure of any of the terminology for the equipment or techniques so, basket makers reading, do forgive me! Both of us started off with a similar block but clearly, Sarah (below) used to outside holes but after that, the twisty-wrap technique was the same for both projects.
Yep, it was fun :-)
Sarah decided to add a little flourish to the end of hers and used all the willow length to create a pointy end. Stretching the brief, I like that.
This is how my wrapping ended (below). That stick in the middle is used as a guide only and later removed. Look at that fab tool though. Basically, it was just a poker to help wangle the weaving off the block and stick. Still, I have hardware envy.
Ta-dah! I think the wings are the wrong way around but you get the gist. We were just having a bit of fun but boy it's still tough on the hands. Now, who do I know with a willow tree...
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