Member Profiles

Sheila Walton

As far back as I can remember I was always cutting, painting, colouring, constructing, stitching, and later taking photographs, in other words generally being creative, but I only discovered basketry in 1997. Despite my struggles to weave my first willow basket, and my need of much help from professional basketmaker Steve Fuller who was the supremely patient workshop tutor, I was hooked.  The way that an apparently simple plant material could be manipulated and transformed into an infinite variety of beautiful objects that were both functional and decorative totally captivated me.

With many years of sewing behind me, and with a love of the natural world, it was inevitable that I would eventually discover a vast range of other weaving materials, both natural and man-made, new and recycled.  Textile and paper fibres, wire, plant material both cultivated and wild, found objects and beachcombings, twine, string and rope, are all viewed as potential materials for incorporating into woven forms.

Along the way I have also discovered that the history of basketry is a long and fascinating one, and I was privileged to help Liz Balfour with the preparation of both editions of her book, The Fishing Baskets of Northumbria, for publication.  I am pleased to be able to play a small part in keeping alive such an ancient and important traditional skill.

I joined Northumbria Basketry Group in 2008, about a year after its formation, and I am also a member of the Basketmakers Association and the Scottish Basketmakers Circle. 

You can see more of my work on Instagram @willowindurham

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