Traditional and contemporary baskets and willow sculpture I set up my business, Wheatcroftwillow in 2008, after making baskets and willow items as a hobby for 16 years. I am passionate about using local and sustainable materials and baskets are the ultimate sustainable container. Well made baskets will last a lifetime, with maybe the odd handle repair or replacement of a foot border on heavily used baskets. If tastes change the product can be composted with no impact on the environment, there are no glues, wires or man made materials put into the baskets themselves apart from the odd leather strap. Made from willow, a renewable resource, which when coppiced annually will produce a crop of long, fine rods. I harvest willow rods after Christmas, sort the willow into sizes and and dry out bundles propped up against my house until ready to be stored in April.
- Creator Name
- Rachel Evans
The willow is then soaked before use and woven into my creations.
I have a small willow bed near Leek, in Staffordshire, grow a few favourite varieties in my garden and I use small local suppliers in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as well as stripped willow from Somerset. I like to use different varieties of willow in my baskets, Black Maul, Flanders Red, Wizzender, Green Dicks, Dark Dicks, Jagiolonka and Brittany Greens and I often label up my baskets with the varieties used and often when and where they were harvested.
In the last year, I have been lucky enough to study under an 'apprentice' style system with Adrian Charlton, a professional maker of 30 years to further my knowledge and skills. I was awarded a grant from the Basketmakers Association to help with my studies.
I specialise in traditional designs, but I do produce some contemporary designs and sculptures either for commissions or when I feel extra creative. My product range is forever growing and I am happy to make things to order, to unusual sizes or to fit into drawers or alcoves. I can also copy or mend old, well loved baskets that have seen better days.
I also run willow courses, workshops, work in schools and create living willow sculptures.