Mary’s cradle

IMG_5587 Only three months since the last post so getting better.

In September one of our lovely basket makers, Mary Ponting, came to us for a little bit of guidance on making a willow cradle for her son’s friend.

Armed with a mattress, a set of white (handled with extreme care) fitted inserts, a stand for the cradle to sit on and a printed picture of what the cradle looked like we set to work. Size was quite important so we measured carefully with measuring tape, wrote everything down on paper and crossed fingers. Mary set to work on the base while I was very happy being her basket making apprentice sorting willow, making tea, wiping her brow while she wove away. Day one and the base was finished, “I never thought it would take that long!” said Mary, I nodded sagely.

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Day two was German waling, pricking up and weaving away. We had to tie the uprights straight away to get the rounded front and back to come into shape. Crunch time came when we remembered to test out the mattress, inserts and put the halfway cradle onto the stand. Holding breath for what seemed an eternity we both let out a sigh of relief when it all fitted beautifully.

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Day three, more weaving, waling, packing, border and brow wiping. The cradle started to take shape nicely and Mary worked very hard with barely a whimper. After a good dunking in the bath it was finally time for the border. The end result was so fantastic and a real heirloom. Well done Mary!

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Gypsies and Shoppers day two

Gypsy baskets

Vale Adult Learners took on the Gypsy Basket challenge last month and after a fair amount of sighing, the odd curse or two and cries of please no more packing, beautiful shaped baskets unfolded.

Welsh Shoppers round two

The second day of the welsh shopper course took place last month. It was a pretty cold day and once again we were all huddled around the fire at the Heritage Coast Centre. With hoops, handles and ribs all dried out it was a day of weaving the basket. It’s quite a tricky basket if you keep the traditional weave going and try and shape the basket at the same time. Also helps if you’re told how to start the basket off properly in the first place, I blame brain freeze…

New Term, New Skills – Upcoming Courses

September is a great time to start something new, why not come on one of our courses?

WILLOW TASTER COURSE Countryfile Article

Date: Tuesday 13th September 2011

Venue: All Saint’s Church Hall, Southerndown, 10am-4pm

A variety of willow weaving projects, from simple stars to woven hearts finishing with a small frame basket. An enjoyable and relaxing day spent working with willow.

WILLOW BASKET MAKING FOR BEGINNERS

Date: Wednesday 12th October 2011

Venue:  All Saints Church Southerndown, 9.30am-4pm

Learn to make a small round basket using a variety of willow. Learn the technique of working with willow to make a round base, insert stakes and weave the sides of a traditional willow basket.

WILLOW SCULPTURE

Date: Sunday 30th October 2011

Venue National Botanic Gardens, Carmarthen, 10am-4pm

Learn to design and create a small animal or bird sculpture. This course introduces the technique of sculpting with willow, how to create a 3d shape and to fill in using a random weave.

To book please contact the National Botanic Gardens tel 01558 667150
or email kbailey@gardenofwales.org.uk

WILLOW CRAFTS FOR CHRISTMAS

This course covers a variety of willow weaving techniques using both dried and freshly cut willow. Course participants will learn to make several willow Christmas decorations including wreaths, stars, chains and trees. A glass of mulled wine and a warm mince pie make this course a fantastic way to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Date:   Saturday 19th November 2011
Venue Heritage Coast, Southerndown, 10am-4pm : £50

Date: Tuesday 29th November 2011

Venue:  All Saints Church Southerndown, 10.00 am-4pm

LIVING WILLOW STRUCTURE

Date: Wednesday 7th December 2011

Venue: Pencoed Growers, Bridgend, 9.30am-3.00pm : £50

This course covers teaches you how to design and plant a living willow structure. Participants will be taught how to lay out, plant and construct with living willow rods and will build a variety of structures suitable for gardens, community spaces and schools. Traditional weaving techniques, care and maintenance of structures will also be covered.

NEW FOR 2011 – CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS 2 – Willow and Hedgerow

Follow on course from Willow Christmas Decorations. Come and spend another relaxing day with us preparing for Christmas. Learn to weave a selection of NEW items to decorate your home for Christmas:

Choose from:  Rustic Wreath including Contorted Willow and Hedgerow materials, 3D Angel, Willow Chains, Conical Christmas Tree, Hearts for Presents

We will have a variety of fresh coloured willow and hedgerow materials available to decorate your items.

Date: Friday 25th November 2011

Venue:  All Saints Church Southerndown, 10.00 am-4pm

Date: Saturday 10th December 2011

Venue:  All Saints Church Southerndown, 10.00 am-4pm

Looking forward to seeing you!

Welsh Basketmakers South Wales Group – January Meeting

A massive thanks to Deb for taking notes, typing them up and sending them to me in an e-mail  – a lot harder  to lose than an envelope, although I promise I still have this month’s safe!  We had a great meeting with more than 20 people attending to agree the programme for this year and weave some beautiful willow hearts from fresh Black Maul and Flanders Red willow.  Yvonne brought some gorgeous organic willow for our basketmakers to pounce on.  Anyway, here is the programme for this year, expect there will be changes on the way but it will be a more relaxing way to do things I think.  Again thanks to everyone for offering to help.

Dates and Activities for 2011

The Group agreed a list of activities for the forthcoming year and agreed dates for the monthly meeting.

N.B  Unless otherwise stated we are hoping that all meetings will be held at Colwinston Village hall – fab venue with easily sweepable floors and loads of car parking.  One summer meeting will be held at Kathy’s house in Cardiff Bay – to be confirmed.

January 31st Fresh Willow Hearts 7.00 – 9.00 pm
February 28th Hoops for frame baskets – Knife skills and using skeins   Material costs £1 per frame 7.00 – 9.00 pm
March 28th Weaving Materials from the Hedgerows At Pencoed Organics 

Final details to be agreed.  The main aim of the meeting will be to improve material recognition and identifying the most useful hedgerow materials for weaving

7.00 – 9.00 pm
April (actual date Tues, May 3rd) Bases – practice your round, oval or square bases for finishing baskets at home. 

Material Costs – £1 per base

7.00 – 9.00 pm
May (actual date Mon, June 6th) Plant supports 

Material Costs – £5 per plant support

7.00 – 9.00 pm
June 27th Borders 7.00 – 9.00 pm
July and Aug No monthly meetings due to summer holidays, however there will be a picnic at Dunraven – date to be arranged 

 

Sept 26th Corn dollies – weave your own dragonfly, bodkin cover or anything else made using a corn dolly weave 7.00 – 9.00 pm
October 31st Angels and trees – 3 dimensional tree or angel from white or buff willow 7.00 – 9.00 pm
November 28th Christmas party 7.00 – 9.00 pm
December No monthly meeting

Getting Organised

At the first group meeting, we decided to keep things informal.  However as things have progressed and as the group has increased in numbers, there is the need to formalise a few things to ensure the smooth running of the group.  At the moment we need help with refreshment rotas, keeping notes of the meeting and collecting funds.  Details are as follows:-

Refreshment rotas

We agreed to have a rota for providing refreshments – tea, coffee and biscuits/cake.  We will arrange the rota at every meeting and pass on the tea/coffee making equipment to those next on the rota for the following month.  Kathy agreed to sort out February (with Ann to help although she doesn’t know yet!)

Keeping Notes

We have agreed to keep a few notes from each meeting particularly where we have agreed actions.  These will then be posted on our blog.

Funds

There is a minimum charge of £2.50 at each meeting for the cost of the hall and materials.  Sarah kindly undertook this at the January meeting and has agreed to carry on doing this for future meetings.

Basket making and other willow events

Wool and Willow Festival 2011 – Llanidloes  (http://www.woolandwillowfestival.org/)

Dates for this year’s festival are 28th May to 25th June.  Set up is on Friday 27th May.

Out to Learn Willow are running a workshop making Framed Baskets for the garden or kitchen on 17th June

Prue Thimbleby will be running a workshop for willow and recycled materials on 3rd June.

We also have a stall for exhibiting our work – this is for everyone and Maggie will be in touch with further details shortly.  If anyone is interested in selling any of their work then contact Clare and Mel as we also have a table for selling willow items.

Basket makers Association Summer Meeting – Cheltenham  17th June 2011

We agreed that we would like to attend the AGM and it would be sensible to organise a minibus for a number of us to attend.  Unfortunately it clashes with Clare and Mel teaching and stewarding at the Wool and Willow Festival but other group members may well fancy a day out

Deb will be in touch to organise numbers and minibus hire.

Next meeting

28th February 2011, 7.00 p.m.  Colwinston Village Hall (to be confirmed when booked)

Looking forward to seeing you all again next month, if you have a sharp knife such as an Opinel knife or fixed blade penknife please bring it with you along with a piece of leather or suede to protect your knee!