Making mixed media ceramic and willow crafts
I started to work on ceramic and willow products when I thought of creating an interesting contemporary piece for the City and Guilds in Basketry course, about two years ago. This has evolved so that I am now creating fruit bowls and planters for my work as Travelling Weaver.
The clay bases are made at Loudwater Studios in Ludlow, which is a lovely creative environment where there are weekly pottery drop-ins. I make the bases out of buff or terracotta clay, this is rolled to fit a plaster of paris mould in different sizes. However, recently I have been exploring other templates, such as using Autumn leaves to form the base shape.
After I cut the clay to fit the template or mould I insert holes around the outer edge of the wet clay using a simple straw, whilst making sure I have measured the spacing between the holes accurately. These are then fired in the kiln and glazed some weeks later, and then re-fired.
Later, in the workshop at home I scallom on willow rods into the holes around the edge of the ceramic base and weave some horizontal weavers, perhaps with a contrasting different type and colour of willow rod, and then finish with a border.
This is a five rod border on a fruit bowl. The bowls are really practical because if the fruit spoils in the bowl they can be easily wiped clean, whilst the sides are woven with willow.
I have been experimenting using willow bark cut into thin strips as side weavers in this planter/ light holder. I love the the tactile rustic nature of the outside of the bark, whilst on the inside it is more like a tan leather with beautiful grain evident in the wood.
If you have more questions or would like to enquire about commissioning a mixed media basket, please get in touch!