At the moment, in addition to the willow we harvest locally, we buy from 4 different growers from Scotland and England.
Longer term, we are working on finding funding for our very own willow grove. We’d love to be able to weave exclusively with the willow we’ve grown. This project is going to take a wee while to come to fruition but is very exciting none the less (watch for blog posts!).
We use around a dozen different varieties of willow. Each have different qualities; colour, texture, length and thickness.
Willow straight from the withy beds. Karen prefers working with barked willow because to her eye she prefers the look. It has a broader variety of colour and texture to play with. On a practical note, although it is harder to work with and takes longer to soak than buff willow, Karen finds it makes for a stronger basket. She also enjoys working with materials as close to their natural state as possible.
This is willow that has been boiled and the bark taken off. Because of this boiling, it requires more energy to produce. Easy to work and less stress on the hands and can result in a ‘cleaner’ look.
Anything that will twist around your hand can be woven into a basket. We love using plants from the hedgerows and woodland around the Pole Barn, and drift wood and sugar kelp from Findhorn beach.
Depending on the time of year, you’ll see bunches of the following around the Pole Barn:
Beech, Apple, Pear, Plum, Poplar, Sweet Chestnut, Bramble, Clematis, Dog Wood, Holly, Honeysuckle, Hops, Ivy, Periwinkle, Rose, Hawthorn, Larch, Silver Birch, Hazel, Jasmine, Broom