Basketmakers Southwest (BSW) brings together craftspeople from south western England who are interested in the practice and history of basketry, rushwork, chairseating, willow sculpture and related crafts.
We aim to promote good workmanship through courses and informal share days, and we exchange advice and practical experience on the growing of suitable willow varieties and the use of unusual materials.
Historical research is a growing interest among our members, we study traditional baskets in museum collections, and use documents and archives to research the lives of our basketmaking forebears.
BSW currently has nearly 100 members, mostly from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, others come from further afield. We are linked to the Basketmakers Association which has an international membership.
Organisation: A committee, elected at the AGM, meets every 3 months to plan courses and events and to discuss forward planning, members’ suggestions, and other policy matters.
Activities: We arrange – for the benefit of our members, to learn and to meet each other: Courses, Share Days, a Summer Gathering, Annual General Meeting, rush-cutting under the auspices of the Basketmakers Association.
– for the wider public, to encourage wider knowledge & appreciation of basketry: BSW, or its individual members, are present at many events in the region, from County Shows to local Apple Days. We sell our work, demonstrate skills, teach children & adults to make small willow or rush items, and offer advice and contacts on a wide range of basketry matters.
Courses: We offer two major two-day courses for members each year, with an experienced tutor, usually covering some specialised technique or type of basket. Many members also run beginners’ & more advanced courses throughout the year.