Willow

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ts!). I do love willow it is incredible stuff. Different types of willow have been used by humankind for thousands of years and still shows its benefits to this day with its renewable form of energy.
Uses of coppiced willow rods are endless: baskets, coffins, hurdles, creels, coracles, hampers, fish traps, outdoor sculptures, dens, mazes, living fences, bent willow furniture, garden arbours, charcoal, river stabilization.
and if left to grow on willow can be managed to produce logs for open fires or log burners, it can be chipped for boilers, it can be planted to filtrate sewage…It’s the most .versatile and useful material that grows abundantly here in Scotland.

Harvesting/ coppicing each winter when the leaves have dropped, all rods are cut back in a process known as coppicing.
Cutting must be carried out when the willow is dry. If damp when willow is stored it will go mouldy or rot, once dry we have willow to use for the year to come
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We use around a dozen different varieties of willow. Each has different qualities; colour, texture, length and thickness.

Barked Willow

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.

Buff Willow

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.

Other Materials

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