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Spindizzy's baskets from the Dane Valley Willow Beds

Until the 1950s a willow bed at Cranage supplied willow for the large baskets still used in the Manchester mills and other industries. One winter the crop was cut and bundled to dry, but no one came to collect it. The willow was unwanted, and the willow beds reverted to a patch of scrubby trees.
Since around 1999 I have been part of the Dane Coppice Craft Group, involved in the restoration of these willow beds to production. We've joined the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers), for many days of hard labour, clearing, planting and finally cutting and bundling. A fast growing variety of willow called Flanders Red was planted first to provide a crop which could be used for both basketry and living willow sculptures The following year, an area was planted with 2 regional varieties, Dicky Meadows and Lancashire Dicks, along with some Brittany Green and Angustifolia, good basketry willows.

I make variety of styles of baskets from the Cranage coloured willows supplemented with a few rods of an ornamental black willow and some stripped white and commercial willow.

Once a year, when the number of baskets around the house becomes unmanageable, I hold a sale to allow me to replace tools, restock on willow and attend workshops to extend my skills.

Large shopper
medium round shopper
irish skebs
logbaskest
simple frame basket

Page Updated Aug 2004. Caj