All our tutors are experts in their fields and have been working with us for many years. Each bring their own style to weaving
the willow be that as conventional basket makers or as abstract art form. We try to use a number of tutors offering different
skills to bring in fresh ideas to make Musgrove Willow Courses truely unique.
An unconventional basket maker that will show you how to make a centuries old style stick basket from materials gathered from the countryside.
Rebecca Board has seventeen years experience of making baskets. She works from home and grows and gathers many of her own materials. Whilst the main wood she uses is willow, she is particularly interested in the wide variety of different plant materials that can be woven such as rushes, hazel, and hedgerow and garden woods, and choosing combinations of weaves that reflect the natural world and the landscapes in which the materials grow.
She has taken part in many exhibitions over the years including the ‘Working the Willow’ exhibition here at Musgrove Willows, and her baskets can often be seen at Black Swan Arts and the monthly artisan market in her home town of Frome. She has taught numerous weekend basketmaking courses both locally and in locations as diverse as Derbyshire, Orkney and North Wales. She is an associate member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen.
Mary Butcher MBE
Mary Butcher trained with a traditional Basketmaker using willow and then rush, making functional items for local markets. She has travelled the world learning various techniques and has exhibited her work worldwide and is the artist in residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Mary has a strong interest in the transmission of her craft, teaching it widely both in the UK and internationally. Her book "Willow Work" is the bible for those beginning basketry.
"Being a Basketmaker covers a wide range of activity now. I use natural materials, plastics, wire, strings, cardboard strips and paper to make containers and sculptures in a wide variety of scales and forms. The techniques I use are not only those traditionally associated with UK and European basket making practice but ones which originate from across the world."
An extraordinary craftsman specialising in large tissue covered sculptures for special events and carnival parades. More of his work can be seen on his website www.jigantics.com.
Sophie has worked in willow for many years and specialises in large-scale sculptures and living willow projects. You may have seen the leaping deer on the A303, which she jointly sculpted with Stephan Jennings and the striking Beast of the Blackdown Hills she recently completed near Blagdon Hill.
Sophie's work has been featured in many national publications and gardening magazines including Somerset Life. She enjoys teaching children and adults of all abilities and takes great pleasure in seeing students that have little or no previous experience of willow, taking home a sculpture they have created.
Jay has worked with willow for the past 16 years, specialising in site specific weaving. He has extensive experience with projects from country cottages and estates to penthouse roof gardens, working with a number of leading garden designers along the way. In recent years he has taken part in Somerset Art weeks and other art groups, producing screens and seating as well as sculptural pieces.
Ivor started basket making at the tender age of 14 years old. He served his apprenticeship in North Petherton and still makes baskets there today. A man of many talents and a patient, precise teacher, Ivor will guide you carefully through each stage of making your chosen item.
Although, semi-retired now, Ivor has a vast amount of experience and a large repertoire of Traditional, Hedgerow Baskets and Chairs and Garden Climbers to share with you.
Tom Hare is a visual artist based in the East Midlands.
Working with greenwood (specifically willow ), he creates large woven sculpture to commission. He teaches basketry , furniture making and contemporary willow work in educational and community settings.
Says Tom of his current practise :
" With a passion for the vessel it seemed a natural progress from throwing pots to building baskets; this then became the foundation for the sculptural techniques I use and develop today"
Fiona is a very experienced teacher of willow sculpture for both children and adults. Specialising in smaller sculptures, she will encourage and guide students through the basic techniques needed to make their own unique sculpture.
Fiona feels that willow is one of the most accessible mediums to work with and no previous experience at all is necessary to enjoy one of her workshops. She asks students to bring along a flat-nosed screwdriver and secateurs.
Greenwood artist Spencer Jenkins has worked with willow for the last 12 years. During this time he has developed his own language with willow, he makes beautiful forms that blurring the boundaries between sculpture and functionality. He is also a very experienced tutor and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.
He runs furniture making courses, workshops, demonstrations, community events and outdoor school projects building living willow structures and sculpture. Using a fusion between ancient and modern practices and a creative approach to willow, Spencer will teach a range of various contemporary weave and form making techniques to create a unique piece for the home or garden.
Amanda/Ellen Musgroves Finest
Rachel Poole is an experienced teacher of both adults and children with a broad range of willow skills. Organic inspired sculpture with willow/bark and contemporary basketry are Rachel’s passion.
She is a NAFAS qualified area demonstrator, regularly produces work for design/floral magazines and works all over the country teaching her speciality- utilising willow within contemporary floral sculptures and structures.
She works for museums, councils, hospitals and schools and demonstrates/exhibits at numerous national events.
James moved to Somerset about 10 years ago and trained to be a hurdle maker with a highly reputable Somerset company. He is highly talented and has a great feel for the willow.
Since going freelance, James works with us making hurdles and garden structures and runs very successfull courses which are always well attended. He has recently undertaken 900 ft of hurdles around a memorial garden at Norton Fitzwarren for 40 Commando which Musgrove Willows is sponsoring.
Sarah Webb brings her basket making and contemporary willow artist skills to the team. Sarah produces a comprehensive range of willow baskets and sculptures.
Sarah is happy to teach, demonstrate and give talks on basketry and willow sculpture.
Basket making attracted my attention at a Craft Show in 1993. On joining the Basketmakers’ Association I attended several courses and eventually became a professional basket maker starting the business with my wife Diane in 2001.
I am honoured to be a Yeoman member of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers. Commonly referred to as a wicker basket the word wicker is believed to be of Swedish origin, vikker meaning willow and the verb wika to bend or fold.
Eddie has over 25 years experience as an environmental educator and is a member of the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and the Institute for Outdoor Learning. Having been Warden at the internationally renowned Peat Moors Centre, Eddie knows everything there is to know about the Celtic way of life, from prehistoric farming practices and craft skills to mythology and beliefs.
Eddie teaches historical themed events for children bringing the Saxons and Romans to life.