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16-23 June 2018, Willow Basketry with Annemarie O'Sullivan

16-23 June , Chateau DumasCourse and board from £1680

Hosted by Annemarie O'Sullivan

The weaving and binding techniques that basket maker Annemarie O’Sullivan uses have been used for hundreds of years to create small-scale domestic objects through to larger-scale woven forms. This connection with nature draws her to site specific, beautifully crafted works which are steeped in history and landscape.

During the week you’ll learn from Annemarie about the process of planting and harvesting willow. You’ll also be given firm guidance about the various processes of preparing willow for weaving.

You'll weave a beautiful frame basket from willow.Frame baskets vary from region to region and we will examine the Ulster potato basket, the welsh Cyntell and a variety of gypsy baskets both from the UK and France.

Frame baskets are generally made by attaching two hoops together with a willow tie. The structure is created first and then the weaving fills in the gaps

The hoops will be made in advance and then dried so that its shape is not distorted by the pressures of the rest of the construction as you weave the basket. Once dry the first ribs’ of the basket are attached to opposite sides of the hoop. The weaving builds slowly and steadily and there is space to relax as the basket grows.

After you have completed your first frame basket you will have the option to make some hoops to take away or indeed to try another smaller project.

Annemarie's baskets and woven objects are a response to the materials she gathers by hand from the land. She grows around twenty different types of willow and often combines these with coppiced wood. Her work draws on the sturdiness of agricultural baskets, the curves of the landscape and a deep respect for ancient crafts. She is inspired by simple connections with basket makers from the past and is passionate about seeing the making process through from source to finished piece. Basketmaking is an ancient tradition with its own pace and rhythm. 

Annemarie will talk through the process of planting the willow cuttings through cutting by hand and harvesting. She will explain the different processes including boiling to get the buff colour and striping the bark to get white willow. You will be shown how to prepare the willow before working with it. Soaking and mellowing the willow makes it supple and malleable to weave with.

You can take the course at your own pace and there will be plenty of time to enjoy the tradition of sitting together and weaving. This course is suitable for those who are completely new to willow basket making, or those who have taken a few classes but would like to improve their skills.

Chateau Dumas, Chateau d'Auty, Nr Toulouse, 82220 Auty



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