Here’s Mo, or Sailí Mo, The Willow Witch who makes baskets and Living Willow structures. Sailí is Irish for Willow (and the name of my dog). I used to work as a carer with people who have an intellectual disability, but now try to make a living from willow weaving, teaching workshops and selling at markets and events.
I have regular building going on as there is no end to my ideas for the place. Two troughs were built outside the shed, for soaking the willow, making it supple enough for weaving. The shed itself was transformed into a studio space and storage for the harvested willow. I grow about 20 different types of willow, to use different colours for my creations. In the back yard I created a little sailí-patch and further down the road there’s a small plantation, growing larger every year. I use my own harvest for Living Willow structures, fences and baskets and add on some imported willow from Somerset.
I also grow vegetables and some fruit. Got a polytunnel in August 2014 and made raised beds inside from re-used decking boards. The first growing-year was successful giving me my first potatoes and broccoli. A gifted grape-vine which I thought had died is now producing tiny sweet grapes. Tomato plants are thriving with salads in-between. Broad-beans, french beans, corn, courgette, cucumber and leek were joined by carrots, beetroot , kohlrabi. I do find it difficult to balance the time I spend making baskets with the time needed for growing food and the garden often suffers…. Luckily I get a bit of help.
I am originally a city-girl, but love my country life! Living surrounded by farms I can’t avoid getting involved with the life-stock. There is a gang of black Zwartbles lambs who will give me lovely black wool when they grow up. I hope to master the skill of spinning, so I can incorporate the wool into my creations. The basket-making has been a distant interest for a long time, until I finally found the right teachers, did courses and got hooked! The rest is history as they say…. but I say herstory.
I intend to post about the ups and downs of growing, creating, and the inside-outside view of a ‘blow-in’. Have a look at my blogs, photo’s and announcements on the next pages.