Monday, April 27, 2009

York Spring School Week

A week in the walled city of York in April, what could be better?  The daffodils were out and the BA’s York Spring School was in full swing.  Classes were at The Mount School and this year featured willow with Roy Youdale, skeined willow with Andris Lapins, twills with Linda Mowatt, split chestnut with Lluis Grau and ropework with Des Pawson.

Roy Youdale’s class was on round square baskets and D-shaped baskets and lids.  As space was limited in my suitcase, I concentrated on the round square and was rewarded with a full week’s instruction on the finer points of willow basketmaking.  We worked with buff willow which takes very little soaking, time is of the essence in a week long class.  The tannin in the willow bark is driven into the rod by boiling and the lovely brown colour is exposed when the bark is peeled off.  

The 8 students produced quite a few baskets.

We were privileged to visit Andris Lapins’ class in session and were given a demonstration on skeining willow.

This was Andris’ sample table. The quality of his work is breathtaking, see the earrings in the little bowl?

Linda Mowatt’s twill class produced a feast of pattern and colour.

Lluis Grau with his students’ chestnut splint creations.

Des Pawson’s students were busy on the ropes all week, too much for one photo.

After the weeks’ classes, we took a day to explore York.  Particularly interesting were the archaelogical displays at the recreation of the ancient Viking city of Jorvik, found underground at Coppergate.  When in York, everyone walks the wall and we entered by climbing the steps in this picturesque tower.  

Studying at the York Spring School is like going away to camp, you can sleep in a dorm, new friends are made and you feel lost after it’s over.  I felt I wanted to take all the classes but there’s always another year and plans are already being made to attend the 2011 Spring School at York.


Weavin' Wicker Woman said...

Your classes in York were through the Basketmakers' Association, correct?

I visited Roy at his home in June of 2006 with Olivia Elton Barratt when I was there staying with and traveling around with Olivia. I was there on a McKnight Fellowship Grant to study willow and rush growing and also meet basketmakers and seatweavers.

Also met the Musgroves, Sally Goymer (stayed with her overnight) and many others from the BA and willow/rush growers.

What a blast! Put me down to go with you in 2010, love to take classes this time at the spring meeting.

The Wicker Woman-Cathryn Peters

Salix said...

Thanks to sharing your experience in York! Looking forward to seeing your work "au naturelle" and to learn from you.

Shelley said...

Thanks for the terrific pictures and extent of the information Frances. Your collage of baskets is great, and shows such a range of things one can learn in a week at York. Thanks for the information on the range of workshops, it really helps us all learn and extend the people we can learn from in the basket community.

Geoff said...

Hi Frances

Lovely write up and great website. It was quite an inspiring course, I am currently making lots of oval squares to get the technique sorted.
Happened to be in Hay on wye last week and saw some of the other Frances's work in a gallery, she had rattles for sale!
Tkae care and hope to see you again in the future.

Hannah said...

hello, i would really love to go on this course but Im finding it very hard to find any information about it online.

can anyone join? and have you a rough idea of the price please?

any help would be greatly received.

many thanks Hannah :O)


Hello Hannah,

First you need to join the Basketmakers Association, who runs the York Spring School, and all details may be found in their newsletter which is sent out 4 times per year. The fee for the York Spring School is very low for the excellent value received.

Good luck,

Weaving Willow