Just a few days after the Medieval Tapestry workshop (see previous post) I went to a Willow Craft workshop at my local library. This was just two hours on Wednesday morning and was free of charge, all materials provided. I talked my daughter-in-law into coming along with me.
Fresh from the weaving workshop, which has occupied a whole weekend, I really didn’t know what to expect and could not imagine what we could produce in a mere two hours. In the event I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out that is was not exactly weaving but merely wrapping the willow canes round a wire armature and so work progressed quite quickly. Most of the 15 or so people there produced at least two items, usually a wreath and something else slightly more complex.
I started with the bird (above) while my daughter-in-law made a butterfly (sorry, no photos) then, with still at least three-quarters of an hour left, we both produced a wreath (see mine below). The only real problem, once you got the hang of the simple technique was that as time progressed the willow was becoming rather dry and brittle which made it less workable. The workshop tutor had brought along a vast bundle of willow which had been well soaked and was wrapped in damp towels and polythene, but she did inform us that two hours is about the maximum time it will stay workable before needing resoaking.
At the end of the session she told us to help ourselves to some of willow if we wished, so I came home with a bundle big enough to make another wreath. I have not used it yet as I have to finish preparing for the tapestry exhibition. The willow will need soaking again for at least two hours and then I think I will tackle a heart-shaped wreath.
Just last week I noticed an advertisement in my local paper for a day long willow weaving workshop at a garden centre a few miles away. This time it would be weaving and I was very tempted as I have always fancied having a go at basket making, but I decided against it as I have plenty of work to get on with. Another time perhaps!