23 October 2023A Weekend on Lindisfarne
17 August 2023
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I went to the summer picnic at the Chesterhope Willow plot on Sunday. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, perfect conditions to spend a few hours meeting and chatting with other basketry enthusiasts, sharing delicious food, and learning new willowy things. I think there must have been about 12 of us. Some met in Rothbury car park and went in convoy. I had not been to the plot before, and I don't think I could find it again as it seems to be in the middle of nowhere! It was good to meet Alan and hear about the types of willow, how it's grown, and how the plot came to be.
We sat and stripped the bark from some that had been freshly cut to make 'white willow', which only needs to be soaked for a very short time before use. It was a very mindful thing to do and quite hard to stop once you got into the flow of it!
Charlotte showed us how to bend, scallom with a knife, and then join willow sticks into a circle or oval hoops for future basket frames, and she showed us some different basket examples. She also showed us how we could split (cleave) thicker willow with a cleaving implement, which I can't remember the name of. (Ed. Note - A Cleave is a wooden tool, sometimes metal-tipped, used to split rods into three or four from tip to butt.)
It seemed time to pack up all too soon, which is always a good sign of a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.