*THIS COURSE WILL BE RE-SCHEDULED UNDER OUR COVID19 POLICY*
With Lewis Goldwater of Turnham Green Wood
Discover the skills and learn the techniques for making a traditional split-hazel frame basket, known as a “whisket” in the Welsh Marches. Over two days you will source your hazel from the local woodland, prepare all of the components from the rods you have cut, and with a minimum of tools, assemble them into a split hazel basket of your own creating.
The “Whisket” is a traditional, round-bottomed basket, made from split hazel, that has its origins in the Welsh Marches of Radnorshire and Herefordshire. It is similar in style to the Welsh “Cyntell”, consisting of an oval or round rim (also made from bent hazel), to which ribs are attached with long, weavers.
The skill of the whisket maker is to harvest the longest weavers possible from the entire length of a clean, slow-grown hazel rod, at the right time of year. This is done by bending the rod along its length and splitting off the outermost growth ring. This is repeated around the circumference of the rod to yield around 40 – 50 feet of weaving material from a single rod, with the bark visible. A second set of weaving material can be obtained by removing the next growth ring from the rod, or pairing down the outermost set of weavers. In these cases, the weavers will be entirely white, and no bark is left showing on the outside of the basket.
There are currently only a handful of makers in the UK, making baskets using split hazel. We are overjoyed to have Lewis sharing his skills with us.
Please note; The preparation of split hazel is physically demanding, more so than traditional basketry using willow. This course may not be suitable for people with a history of back/neck/shoulder or knee problems (knee pads will be provided to all participants to guard the knees whilst working).