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.