Friday, 4 March 2016

Willow weaving

My own bespoke willow wigwam in situ
On Saturday, I attended a willow weaving workshop organised by and held at the Five a Day Market Garden in Englefield near Theale. I went to their Wildlife Gardening series of workshops a couple of years ago and fell in love with the place. I've been meaning to go on some of their other courses ever since but clashes with other events had prevented that until now.

We were warned to wrap up warm as most of the work would be out in the open, including harvesting the willow ourselves from the garden's own beds. So, if our creations went wonky because of our poor choice of material it was our own fault! It was interesting, though, how the type of stems - straight, slightly curved, green, yellow, red - affected the structure of our "builds". I was surprised at how much variation there was in the properties and "handleability" of the willow depending on it's colour. And, we were told, that can change from one year to the next. This variability meant that it did not matter one jot what plan we had in our heads at the start because the whole construction would take on a life of its own as soon as we started weaving. Pam Goddard, who led the workshop, very kindly called our efforts "bespoke".

Most of us decided to weave pea/bean wigwams and even with that simple basic design an amazing amount of variation, some of it unintentional, crept into our structures.

My own humble effort is now installed in the garden (see the photo at the top of this posting). It may be slightly askew but I doubt the peas will mind. 

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