Workshop with Anne Mette Hjørnholm
I had the amazing opportunity of two days learning with Anne Mette Hjørnholm from Denmark. She is a fantastic basketmaker - you can see her work at her website.
Clare Revera at Welsh Baskets, another truly inspirational maker, arranged for her to teach at the most beautiful location in the Vale of Glamorgan, where Clare has her workshop at Crafts by the Sea.
Anne Mette Hjornholme basket course travelling weaver shropshire willow basketry
We all made unique bags/baskets on a Catalan base, which is started with an oval shaped hoop of freshly cut willow.
This is a beautiful and strangely simple technique - once you have the method in your head. The base is woven with approximately 40 individual willow rods, depending on the size of the hoop, and then these form the uprights of the basket, which means there is no preparing and inserting new rods.
I learnt a new weave on the sides of the bag - what Anne refers to as Irish weave. This is a striking openwork weave where you insert a butt alongside each upright, similar to a French Rand but inserting them in an anti-clockwise direction underneath the proceeding rod. I struggled at first to get this weave as tight as I wanted and the rods seemed to lift from the base of the basket and cause the uprights to bend slightly and transgress to the right. However, with more practice this became quite rhythmical. The weave can be seen here on a laundry basket I made later to practice the technique. However, the base is a traditional English.
Finally, we finished the bag with a four rod wale and 5 rod border, and attached natural leather handles.
I have made one other handbag so far, but I am still learning how to control this weave in order to get the shape I want. I will attach dark brown cork handles to this one.
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