Balmacara Woods

Willow is an elegant plant and a vigorous grower that dances with the wind, is very tactile and a pleasure to work with”.
— Monique Bervoets

From the artist’s own blog with additional images: Meet, Walk, Talk.

I was introduced to the walking group as a willow weaver and basket maker, the participants asked me questions about my craft and the materials I use: mainly willow, but also hazel, rush, heather. All from my own garden.

I enjoy being part of the cycle of the year and cropping the willow rods when the leaves have fallen. Then the willow can be woven into hurdles, plant supports, frame baskets etc. Most of the willow I dry and store in the barn, to be soaked later when needed to weave log baskets, shoulder bags and other willow work.

I was invited to join the Five Wings Walk in Balmacara Woodland, organised by ATLAS in collaboration with Step It Up Highland Lochalsh Walking Group

It was easy to chat and meet new people while walking through the hills and woodland surrounding Balmacara.

After we crossed a burn, the view opened up and we looked down onto the village.

There are lots of young trees and flowers; different colours and textures to enjoy.

We passed some giant beech trees, crossed another burn and then the atmosphere changed: the old campsite has an intimate feel as you are surrounded by big trees, a hawthorn full of berries, apple trees.

We stopped at the willow hurdle which a local community group made with my help.

It works as a windbreak for the open fire, the Kelly kettle, and a stone seating area. I find that while working with groups that for most people making something with your own hands, gives a special rewarding feeling.

Then the sun came out and we walked back to our starting point

…where I showed some of my basketry work.

Thanks to Rosie Somerville who organised it so well. To Ron Porter and Sue Oswald for letting us join their Step It Up walking group. And to all the participants who came along today and were very interested.

I hope to meet everybody again in future. It was a great experience: to meet, walk and talk.

As part of Tha Seo Math Dhuibh | Good for you