Our Yeoman members are some of the most talented in their field and between them cover many styles, materials and products.
If you are looking for something special, maybe commission a piece, repair or perhaps look through for inspiration on an existing item, this list of highly skilled craftspeople is a good place to find it.
Lois Walpole was born in London of Anglo Scottish heritage. She graduated from Saint Martins School of Art, London with a B.A.(Hons.) in Sculpture in 1975 and obtained City and Guilds qualifications in Basket Making from the London College of Furniture in 1982. In 2003 she completed a Doctorate in the Design department at the Royal College of Art in London.
Since 1982 she has worked full time as an artist/ basket maker taking part in and curating national and international exhibitions, working to commission, designing for production, teaching and writing.
From 1972 to 2005 she lived in London. Now she divides her time between the Shetland Islands and the Charente, in south west France, where her studio is based.
Starting as a traditional basket maker, weaving essentially practical, functional baskets, I now enjoy using these techniques to be more creative and contemporary with my own designs.
I have been living and working as a basket maker in Wales for over 30 years, growing my own willow, giving me a palette of many coloured barks to contrast with other hedgerow materials, plaited bulrushes and laths of different woods such as yew, ash and sweet chestnut.
As soon as I made my first willow basket, in 2000, I knew I had to make more. An introduction to textile basketry took my making in a new direction. Working with fine flexible materials, with the use of a few simple tools, I sit on the edge of basketry and textiles.
With a background in primary teaching, maths tutoring and museum education, I greatly enjoy workshops and giving talks; sharing my making and the passing on of skills.
I have been basketmaking for more than 20 years and primarily work in Willow and Rush with a smattering of Cane and Raffia; my main focus is Rush and we harvest as a family in waterways around Ely each Summer. I make to commission as well as having signature baskets that are for sale direct from my home workshop and the Babylon Arts Gallery, Waterside Ely. A range of 9 products are available at two National Trust properties; Anglesey Abbey shop and Wicken Fen Nature Reserve. At the latter I teach a number of basketry workshops through the year, I also teach at my home workshop and tailor these to individual interests both in terms of techniques, abilities and materials. I also teach courses at Cottenham Village College and Cambridge University Botanic Gardens. I am a Yeoman Basketmaker to the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers and an active committee member of The Basketmakers’ Association ,organising the Spring and Autumn courses. I am also a member of Cambridge Open Studios.
Chair Caning & Upholstery
After studying Textiles (Design and Application) at London Guildhall University, Rachael has had an extensive career as a freelance textile product designer and bespoke Passemanterie Designer. She has now taken on her father’s (Terry South) established upholstery business.
Drawing on her experience travelling and working with weavers in India, Central America and Europe, Rachael has added exciting flair to her approach to furniture and upholstery. Her aim is to apply traditional technical excellence with a contemporary execution.
Rachael is also passionate about supporting re-cycling and sustainable living, hoping each reconditioned piece of furniture will last for another generation of use. Happy to pass on her knowledge Rachael also teaches the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers qualification in Upholstery at the London Metropolitan University and also chair caning.
Hilary is interested in techniques, the processes involved in preparing materials, passing on skills and collaborations with other makers. She is a writer, researcher and maker. For over thirty years she has woven traditional and contemporary pieces using home-grown varieties of willow from her willow bed in Devon and other harvested materials. Her research work includes the WW1 Basketry Then and Now project at the Everyday Lives in War Centre at the University of Hertfordshire and a current project on scuttle-work through the Worshipful Company's Walmesley Bursary.
She is a co-founder of Basketry and Beyond, a not-for-profit company that promotes the wider use of basketry, a member of the Devon Guild and author of Cane, Rush and Willow. She writes about textiles and craft and has curated exhibitions about craft, fabrics and basketry.
Enjoying our fourth generation of business, the company is presently being lead and directed by the Hill family’s third generation ‘Darrell Hill’. Traditionally taught and trained and with over 35 years of experience, Darrell’s thorough understanding and knowledge of basket design and construction have made him one the country’s most elite master craftsman.
Leading the way in the development of distinctive fashionable willow products, we have the ability to spot market trends and niche potential. Notably we were the first company to start manufacturing willow coffins in 1998, and to this day we are the UK’s largest willow coffin manufacturer. We have developed a renowned and respected range of willow conservatory furniture and are one of the world’s largest hot air balloon basket manufacturers.
Our range of willow baskets and furniture are some of the most exclusive and sought after. Every basket we make is made exclusively by hand in our workshops in Somerset using locally grown Somerset willow.
Oak Swill Basketmaker
When I learnt the trade I just caught the tail end of their previous uses and sold to farmers and industries e.g a snuff factory. However this market soon dried up and so from the early days I travelled countrywide to demonstrate and sell at fairs and shows. This still remains my main source of trade and I particularly like selling direct. From selecting and felling the oak, through to completing the swill, all is done by my hand and so to complete the final link and meet the customer is most rewarding.
For many years I have been running courses, typically a 3 day course where we start with an oak tree and a hazel rod and end up with a finished swill. Whilst this is not a substitute for a 5 year apprenticeship it does hopefully allow interested people to get a greater understanding of this old craft. It is generally a very sociable 3 days and a chance to meet new folk.
Suzanne & Richard
Established in 1998 Windrush Willow is owned by husband and wife team Richard & Suzanne Kerwood.
Windrush Willow is dedicated to growing and promoting the wonderful species of Willow. We are busily planting up 4 acres of land in Devon England with 140+ varieties of Willow, and are currently producing in excess of 250,00 Osier Rods each year.
We use friendly methods of growing our rare coloured varieties for diverse habitats, and producing beautiful bark colours for weaving with.
The willow is used to make bespoke items for interiors or exteriors including in situ Fencing and Hurdles. We also run courses, workshops as well as giving talks and demonstrations.
Paul Weir at Bedfordshire Basketmakers has many years of experience and provide quality hand made products from their workshop in Stanbridge, South Bedfordshire. Paul is a Yeoman member of The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, a great honour and a mark of quality and excellence.
Commonly referred to as wicker baskets (words possibly of Scandinavian origin) their range includes baskets for cats and dogs, laundry, magazines/newspapers, logs, umbrellas and bicycles. Shopping trolleys and stair baskets, picnic hampers and trugs. For outdoors; fishing baskets, creels and eel traps.
Many unusual commissions for vintage cars, motorcycles, trade bikes have been undertaken. Examples of these are shown in the picture gallery. They repair baskets, chairs, furniture in willow or cane. Call them to discuss your requirements.
The company provide a range of willow baskets for individuals and businesses where customers can expect first class products from an experienced craftsman. If well cared for they can last 50 years or more. Their products are very strong and highly practical, a comprehensive range of designs for everyday use.
Thomas Smith’s Trug Shop
My team of trained craftsmen and apprentices hand craft our range of Royal Sussex Traditional and South Down Contemporary Sussex Trug baskets in our workshops at Magham Down, Herstmonceux in Sussex.
The Traditional Sussex Trug was first made by Thomas Smith of Herstmonceux in 1829 and received Royal acclaim when Queen Victoria purchased some on the first day of the Great Exhibition. The Traditional Trug is made of locally coppiced sweet chestnut and cricket bat willow, the by-product of the English Cricket Bat Industry. We offer a wide range of different Trug styles – garden, flower, fruit bowl, fireside log and squares to mention just a few.
Our South Down Contemporary Trug (considered “traditional” by the Heritage Crafts Association) is made using European and Scandinavian birch plywood from certified, resources. These Trugs invented in the early 1970’s by Dudley & Laurence Hide of Hailsham won a Design Centre Award. They are available in garden, flower and a deep harvest basket and can be painted on the handles and rims.
I have worked in the Trug Industry for thirty seven years and sell online and through dealers world-wide. During that time there have been features about our company in many magazine and in programmes such as Escape to the Country and Antiques Road Trip. I have loved working with Trugs and promoting our craft and am looking forward to establishing a new Sussex Trug Heritage Centre to ensure the continuance of our industry in the future.
Based in East Budleigh, Devon, and launched in 1985, Cane Corner offers a full chair restoration service. We undertake the restoration of chairs and other curiosities in all their guises using different seating methods and materials. Our learning was done on the job, thus giving us the knowledge and experience to develop into a successful local business. We place emphasis on the importance of re-seating a chair with materials that it was originally designed to receive.
I produce ornamental and functional dyed willow baskets using a variety of traditional basket-weaving techniques.
Grace is a very experienced Chair seater, working with rush, cane, Danish cord, seagrass, straw and banana leaf .She also runs regular classes in all forms of chair seating, please contact Grace for further details.
The Musgrove family has been growing willow on the Somerset Levels since the 1920s. Mike Musgrove is a third generation willow grower and renowned for his willow expertise.
Today, Mike and his wife Ellen and their children Jack and Holly grow over 60 different varieties of willow on 100 plus acres of Somerset farmland. The team work sensitively with the environment, using good land management to maintain a natural balance of wildlife and high quality crop production.
Musgrove Willows practice a carbon neutral policy. No fossil fuels are used to boil or steam the willow and harvested rainwater is used whenever possible.
The business supplies willow and willow products to customers all over the world. Musgrove Willows also run specialist willow weaving courses and Funeral Directors across the UK recommend our willow coffins.
Christiane lives and works in Sussex, and has been weaving with willow, rush, birch and other natural materials for over 10 years. She trained in Basketry at The City Lit in London, and has an NVQ level 3 in Textiles. Christianehas been running basket-weaving classes for several years, and demonstrates the craft at Great Dixter Garden each summer. She exhibited at the Garden Museum’s 2019 Christmas fair, ’Beautiful & Useful’. She is a member of The Basketmakers’ Association, and a Yeoman and also former Trade Advisor to The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.
Sandra works in in Willow as well as weaving cane and rush seating. She will do talks for any groups. Workshops and courses held countrywide. Commissions and demonstrations undertaken.
Sandra was a significant member of the team that produced the incredible willow Gog & Magog, more information can be viewed here.
Linda Lemieux & Peter Montanez
Wood & Rush
We established Wood & Rush in 1993 to help ensure traditional basketry and woodworking skills are passed on to following generations and in order to sell our craft direct to customers. Our emphasis has always been on a strong connection with Nature working with the seasons and the geo-ecology of our area. We grow many beautiful colours of willow tending the withy bed and our own rush beds ( river rush) with a dedication to enhancing the wildlife habitat and treading very lightly on the earth.
Surplus materials ( willow and rush ) are for sale as well as baskets, hats, mats and rush chairs repaired and reseated. Peter makes tried and tested basketry tools ,and repairs leather and canvas items too.
I run courses from my workshop here on Dartmoor for both children and adults.
We’ll happily post you anything you want to buy, equally you are welcome to visit us at our workshop in Devon.
John Cowan Baskets
John Cowan is a full-time basketmaker who makes willow baskets in his small workshop in Lanark, UK. John began basketmaking at the age of 25 and he both makes and researches many of the willow basket patterns that were once produced in commercial basketry workshops around the UK until the mid 20th century. John followed the traditional UK basketmaker's apprenticeship (as closely as it's possible to do so in 21st century) and learned the craft from retired indentured basketmaker Colin Manthorpe in Gorleston-on-Sea and Virgil Bausyz, who is a professional basketmaker working in West Kilbride. This training included all of: round, oval, squarework, D-shaped and fitched basketry. Colin also taught John to make several traditional East Anglian baskets that Colin learned during his apprenticeship in the 1950s at Yarmouth Stores, Great Yarmouth. These included agricultural, fishing and industrial styles of the region. John makes many of these baskets today, along with some popular domestic and horticultural styles, and offers these for sale in his online shop.
Felicity and her team spend the summer months harvesting English freshwater bulrush, carrying on with a tradition that goes back many centuries.
They make rush floor matting, basketry, tableware, hats, bags, and shoes. There is also a restoration service available including rush seating and re-caning.
There are also workshops run by Felicity, more information on these can be found on her website.
Felicity was awarded a BEM in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours list, she also has had much Press coverage and a long list of notable clients.
My baskets and sculptures are handcrafted with locally coppiced willow from Staffordshire along with willow from Somerset. With this I create a diverse selection of items from traditional baskets to sculptures and willow hurdle fencing. Specialising in the highest quality customised work I tailor the build to your specification whether it be a basket, sculpture or fencing.
I run courses including the City & Guilds basketry at Westhope Craft College, demonstrations and talks across the country and have featured on C4's 'Kirsty's Vintage Home', 'Kirsty's Handmade Home' and Garden Rescue on BBC1. I have been commissioned work by 'The Worshipful Co of Basket Makers', Merlin, Nando's Restaurants, Film & TV production companies, to local produce shops & private commissions.
I feel extremely privileged to continue the craft of basket making and very proud to follow in my father's footsteps.
Willow is a fantastic material to use in sculpture. I use one year old growth (withies or rods) from coppiced willow trees, some of which I grow and harvest locally myself. It would be hard to think of a more sustainable material.
I have loved and been inspired by the natural world since I was a child and the ability to work as a Willow Artist and make willow sculptures representing the essence of animals, birds and other living forms now brings me great pleasure. I love to represent movement and vitality in my work. My willow sculptures appear to have just paused in their setting before they are ready to move on. One of the nicest things anyone has said about my animal sculptures is that you can always see where they are looking!"
I am inspired by the world around me, particularly flowers, land and seascapes. I love colour and this often determines my choice of materials and techniques. I work with cane, rush, willow, found materials, textiles and paper. I use a range of techniques from stake and strand, plaiting and frame to twining, netting & coiling – producing both functional baskets and more sculptural work.
I completed the City & Guilds Creative Basketry Course at City Lit in London in 2013 – using the Wildflower Meadows at the Olympic Park to inspire my final pieces.
I am part of the Basketry Collective, a group of former City Lit students who come together regularly to promote basketry through teaching, exhibiting, outreach and to encourage & inspire one another.
Brian Crossley MBE
Brian is a professional Chair Caner in Chester with over 50 years experience, who also restores furniture using Seagrass, Danish Cord, Pre-twisted Rush and Riempe.
Tuition in all materials available in Chester and other locations. Commissions undertaken from anywhere in the UK, ranging from family items to Museum quality furniture.
Visits to my Workshop by arrangement.
Brian was awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours 2020.
I am a basket maker based in Suffolk. I mainly work with willow and rush but love all forms of basketry and experimenting with all manner of materials. I take great pleasure in repairing baskets and teach regularly at various locations including from my garden workshop.