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Willow Working (Paperback)

P&S History Arts and Crafts

By Lynn Huggins-Cooper
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: Heritage Crafts and Skills
Pages: 120
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526724601
Published: 30th September 2020


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This book offers a whistle-stop guide to the history of basketry and willow weaving. The story begins in prehistory when people first wove plant fibres together to create containers, shelters and fences. The book explores the ways in which basketry and willow weaving has continued to be important throughout human history in artistic, economic and functional terms.

The second part of the book brings us up to date, via interviews with modern basketry and willow weaving artisans. These artists generously allowed the author a window into their studios and discussed the way they use and adapt traditional methods, techniques and tools for the twenty first century. Photos of their work, and their working environment offers a unique view into the world of this ancient craft.

Finally, if you are inspired to try your hand at this fascinating and most ancient of crafts, the book also has a resources section. It includes a valuable list of suppliers of plant fibres, plants, and tools, as well as information about training courses, useful websites and more – everything you need to get started.

Huggins explores the history of basket making, from ancient times, through the Romans and on to the Victorians in the first half of her book. The second half looks at willow working in current times, how it’s sourced, how items are created and information about the artisans still working this ancient craft. There is sadness and frustration that this heritage craft may die out as fewer people take it up and we buy most of our baskets from places like China. A fascinating look into what, hopefully, is not a dying art.

NetGalley, Rosemary Smith

About Lynn Huggins-Cooper

Lynn Huggins-Cooper is a widely published author. When she is not writing, she is in the studio creating art for exhibition. She is a textiles artist, working in natural and found materials, and mixed media, and her work is influenced by the 360 hectare woodland that begins at the bottom of her garden. She is a member of the Heritage Crafts Association, and the International Felt makers Association. She lives with her husband and daughter in the north east of England.

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