Our new project has started; we are working with two groups of women using a number of textile techniques to create pieces inspired by the panels made by Lorina Bulwer.
We made textured felt from wallpaper paste and cotton wool. We’ll incorporate the finished felted elements into panels when they have dried
We also made panels with strips of fabric
We also made prints using a gelatine plate.
Today was our final session with the cran weaving group.
We added splints and sticks to mimic the reinforcement in the Quarter Cran baskets we have seen in the Time & Tide Museum collection.
Rather than the horizontal row of weaving halfway up the basket side, some of the group decided to create a ‘wave’ of weaving sweeping in a spiral from bottom to top…
All the baskets looked very beautiful, and the basket makers felt very satisfied with their work.
We spent last week with Mike Hubbard, master basket maker, in Cornwall, learning from his vast experience, patience and good humour.
We went with the aim of recreating the cran basket; used in the herring fishing industry in Great Yarmouth. Doing this work revealed lots about the cran itself; the original we took with us was made of cane, not willow, so there were distinct differences in their making. Not least of which is that cane is much longer and the same diameter all along its length so there are fewer joins than in a willow basket.
We also took a swill basket with us and had a really useful discussion about how we will go about making one of those.
Crans and the swill
Our days spent training with Mike are behind us. Both of us were very much looking forward to it that it feels sad that it’s over. However we hope to learn with Mike again and will make the best use of everything he’s taught us in the next project
Sitting on our upturned crans before the handles went on
Having completed our picnic hampers….
… we moved on to the cran.
The pictures, above, show Sarah perfecting the technique known as ‘underfoot base’ where you hold the cross pieces which make the foundation of a round basket under your feet while you work with them. It’s very physical and feels like a strong thing to do.
We finish our crans tomorrow.
The Withy Arts Team are down in Cornwall for some training with Master Basketmaker Mike. These work stations are where we’ll be for the next three days…
Day one: refining our square work, the most difficult kind of basketry.
Pretty pleased with the results…