Basket case

Joining other beginners at a basket weaving course at Wicken Fen on Saturday, I was surprised and delighted to leave at the end of the day with a basket that resembled a basket. I set out to make a produce basket as a way to learn about what happens to willow after it’s cut and how and why it makes such a good weaving material. It turns out that the process is laborious from cutting the willow at the right time of year, stripping off the bark and leaves then grading it into bundles, drying and re-soaking before it is ready to use for weaving. 
As soon as you start working with the damp lengths though you immediately understand why it is so useful – pliable and fibrous it bends or folds easily and can be pulled into shape even by unskilled hands. 
We all started with the same criss-cross of base struts and worked our way round thinking about shape and form at every turn. It’s important to keep the convex form so that when you add the sides later, the base remains a little inverted rather than popping out and turning your basket into a Weeble!
By the end of the day we had all produced remarkably different baskets. I sewed long handles onto mine for ease of carrying at the allotment and the next day filled it to the brim with the day’s pickings. As my children would say, “Awesome!” 

Fine weather and good progress

The weather holds fairĀ and we make good progress at Millington Road Nursery School.

Numbers on mini garage doors

Fixing numbers onto the mini garage doors where the trikes and ride-on toys will live.

 

lookout

Binoculars in place on The Lookout to encourage children to stop and look at the self-seeded habitat on top of the bomb shelter

fairy circle

Making a start on the Fairy Circle and wild area. More planting and shaping of this wild corner is scheduled for the spring with the addition of annuals and more grasses to create a sensory garden. The children will be able to ‘hide’ in here whilst being in full view of the staff and enjoy the different textures and sounds captured in the mixed planting. A great place to collect seed heads, flowers and leaves for mud pies!

 

And the mud pie kitchen is taking shape with two work surfaces, shelves, hooks and a fresh water container for mixing mud pies and cakes.

Mud Pie Kitchen taking shape

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