Following on from Mel’s drawing class and then two of ceramic fish with Hilary, the final class in the block of four at Woodend Barn was willow weaving. Certainly not trying to replicate the salmon anatomically, we spent our time getting to grips with weaving both willow and rush.
We started with a dried willow frame, in the shape of a fish of course, wove a few rows with semi-green willow then added a couple of ribs to enable a closer weave. This method is used to make frame baskets. This is the perfect time of year to use semi-green willow. After being harvested the willow has mellowed for around six weeks and dried out considerably but it is still beautifully flexible with which to weave. There are hundreds of varieties of willow, each possessing a particular character and all with wonderful names. We used goldstones, purpurea, dicky meadows and flanders red, which, when fully dried, will show their subtle shades of brown; golden, dark and rusty colours.
The freshwater bulrush, scirpus lacustris, schoeneplectus, harvested on the River Ouse in Bedfordshiire, which can grow to over ten feet high,is much gentler on the hands. Beautiful, smooth, spongy and long, long lengths in gentle shades of green, blue, bronze and gold.
The results of our evening are magnificent. They will be on show at our exhibition at Woodend Barn in June. I hope the makers of these fish will have a happy surprise when they see how their fish have "matured”.