Category Archives: heritage

Catching the Memories and Passing on the Skills

Withy Arts’ new project, Catching the Memories and Passing on the Skills, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, has just started. One of the aims of this year long project is to teach participants the skills of basket making which were so important to Great Yarmouth’s past. The fishing industry used baskets in great quantities until plastic took over and for this reason, Great Yarmouth was a place of skilled craftsmanship.

For the first few weeks participants have been learning the basics of weaving in both willow and cane and in the process, made some beautiful objects, pictured below.

tension plates
Tension plates featuring the rosebud knot
Making a tension plate
Lovely trays
danish bottom basket
Baskets with a Danish bottom

And finally, cane work…

cane baskets
Cane baskets
cane flowers
A garden of flowers

Celebrating Together – Workhouse Workshop Exhibition opens!

Wednesday saw the private view of the exhibition at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse  where members of both basket-making groups came together with friends, families and Withy Arts project workers and trustees to celebrate their success at the opening of the exhibition.

group of basketmakers2

The baskets look beautiful and have had many appreciative comments from museum staff and visitors already.


Joan’s sister Heather was able to come along to see her lovely work.

Joan and her sister Heather2


The new Withy Arts banners look splendid and gave a special feel to the exhibition.



If you get the chance, the exhibition is open every day until Sunday 29th October 2017. Our thanks to Paul and Miriam at Gressenhall for their help setting up.


Visiting Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

The Tuesday and Wednesday groups met at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse museum today when we visited to see the basket collection.

We put on our latex gloves and handled the baskets.

fishing box

This one is probably a fishing basket.

Rachel and Peter

Peter and Rachel having a look at very small bike basket.

Lauren and Megan the museum curators showed us the collection and explained about the baskets. The tools that were used in the past and the same ones we use today.


This lovely case that Liz is holding is made from woven straw.

We had a proper look at a bee skep and tried to work out how it was stitched together.

And then we looked at the photos from the collection of basket makers from the local area.


We even did a bit of al fresco weaving after a lovely lunch at the cafe.

al fresco weaving

Altogether a really enjoyable day!

Many thanks to Rachel, Lauren and Megan for making us feel so welcome and sharing the collection with us.


Our new project: Workhouse Workshop

Our new project focuses on basket making with two groups in East Dereham, Norfolk, UK. We are making zarzo baskets, decorative baskets from Cataluna in Spain. We are also making a connection with the nationally important basket collection at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse museum We will be visiting to see the collection with the groups at the end of the project.

Week one is about learning the weaving technique by making tension plates.

Ros, Yvonne and Catherine

Helena and Galina


Caroline gives her tension plate its first outing as a useful object – a cup holder!

And a proud group at the end of the morning

proud group