two willow skibs, a partially completed birch nest and a willow 'boat' basket

Workshop with Joe Hogan

I have just arrived back from a wonderful week in Ireland.  Six Basketry Collective friends (Karen Lawrence, Debbie Hall, Judy Lyle, Janice Brooklyn, Christiane Gunzi and Gail Romanes) and I spent a week in Loch na Fooey having a holiday and doing a four day willow workshop with Joe Hogan, who is an fantastic teacher and an inspirational basketmaker.  (See his book Bare Branches, Blue Black Sky)  Between us we made skibs, creels, bog ‘boats’, Celtic knot baskets, nests, rectangular work, log basket, Ali Baba basket, and more.

After making two skibs I decided to try making a big basket using ‘found’ wood.   This was something new for me as I usually work quite small. After drilling the wood for the willow rods and weaving and packing the sides, the base is made using the method used to make creels (ie bending the rods across and into the gaps next to a stake on the opposite side of the basket and then weaving into the gaps.  It was fairly straight forward but took forever and was very fiddly at the end.  I am quite pleased with my first effort but there are definitely things I can improve on if I make another.