My basketry work encompasses lighting for interiors, contemporary woven bags, woven vessels and installation projects. Geometry, balance and universal pattern all infuse into my work, as well as a desire to bring calming, natural texture into the home. I have been inspired by Japanese aesthetics as well as Islamic art and find that woven surfaces allow so much exploration in pattern. Working with materials harvested and foraged from the land opens up a much more connected relationship for me with my craft. I love to explore the places where structured and precise meet wild and untamed.
Alongside my practise I teach basketmaking, both to the public and as a therapeutic craft for young people with complex needs. I love to pass on this ancient skill to others and witness the healing potential of working with natural materials.
I studied Fine Art Sculpture at the Cardiff School of Art and Design, and since then went on to gain a place on the Craft Council’s ‘Hothouse’ makers development programme. I have been fortunate to have learned from many skilled makers and artists, including working as an assistant to renowned installation artist Pipilotti Rist at Hauser and Wirth, Bruton. Recently I went to study Basketry at Westhope college and completed a City and Guilds level 2 qualification, producing samples, learning techniques in detail, and exploring many styles of working in willow and other weaving materials. My innovative final piece, a willow lampshade, was featured in Country Living’s ‘Modern Rustic’.
My journey through craft didn't always involve willow and for 4-5 years I developed a range of paper-cut lighting experimenting with pattern and colour. I learnt a lot during this time, gaining many skills in running a craft business, exhibiting at shows and selling in craft shops.
I loved the end product of my lampshades but something was missing for me in the making process. I was also questioning the integrity of the product I was putting out into the world- even though promoting handmade goods is better than mass produced, I was still buying sheets of PVC lampshade parchment in a world already drowning in plastic.
Exhibiting at the Contemporary Craft Festival, 2015
Then in 2018 I got a job teaching Basket Making at Ruskin Mill College in Nailsworth. Working with young people with additional needs, teaching in an environment connected to the land and with lots of outside space to breathe and grow.
I was teaching the craft and learning fast, and experiencing more and more the therapeutic benefits of working with willow. I now love both the finished product and the process of making, and can feel confident that the objects I am putting out there are sustainable, long lasting and compostable in the end!
I have been involved in planting willow beds on the college grounds in 2021 and 2022, and am learning more and more about this incredible plant. Willow is harvested every year and is very fast growing. When coppiced back to the stools, new willow beds will produce more and more shoots. The tree is native to temperate Europe, and grows easily in many areas.
A willow basket is carbon negative!
What we don't grow here comes from suppliers on the Somerset levels. An area close to where I grew up, the levels are perfect for this abundant crop due to the wetland nature of the land.
Willow growers there have been in business for many generations, passing down knowledge of this heritage craft and working sensitively with the environment to maintain a natural balance of wildlife and quality crop production.