On the first day of the year 2018 I want to wish you all a WONDERFUL, HEALTHY, HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR!
Always lots of thoughts, plans and expectations for the new year. On this day we also have some for sure great news for everybody who loves working with willow.
I believe that we - when we teach willow basketry - need to make sure that our followers also are able to purchase dried willow to work with on their own. That has been very limited in North America. Some of you are able to grow basketry willow for your own use. That is wonderful and I am excited to be able to provide you with dormant willow cuttings of some great basketry willow for planting.
For those of you who are not able to - or don't want to - grow your own basketry willow this is the good news:
After two years with less than desired harvests due to drought and unusual high temperatures during the summer, we finally have a normal harvest in sight. This means that we are able to take orders for our own dried basketry willow again.
Our willow is grown without use of any pesticides, harvested, sorted and dried WITH the bark on. That is how I get the natural colours and shine on my baskets which is not treated with anything - but loving thoughts while being created! No dyeing, wax or lacquer!
Note that the colours you see on just harvested willow (or willow cuttings for planting) is not the same as you get in your basket. The willow changes colours several times. In winter, when it is dormant around harvest time, the colours have intensified. Then the colours will change dramatically during the drying process. Then they change again during the re-soaking process and finally they change when they dry again. In addition to that the growing conditions make a difference and sometimes you will see that one variety doesn't look like it did from other years' harvests. Or like the same variety growing on your friend's property!
A few examples of natural willow colours.
SO THIS IS EXCITING NEWS, BUT THERE IS MORE!
We now have imported BUFF AND WHITE willow for sale!
Although I love my natural willow with the bark on, I do realize that debarked willow - BUFF AND WHITE - do have advantages in some ways and that that will appeal to many basket makers.
Here are a few comparisons:
NATURAL WILLOW: days or weeks depending on a few factors.
BUFF AND WHITE: less than an hour
LEFT OVER WILLOW AFTER BASKET IS MADE:
NATURAL WILLOW: you don't want to re-soak as there is a big risk that the bark will get loose. If you have room in your freezer, you can keep it there.
BUFF AND WHITE: you can re-soak the willow with no risk.
NATURAL WILLOW: if you cannot finish your (stake and strand) basket and don't have room in your freezer for it until you have time, it is impossible to finish it later. If you try to re-soak the whole basket, bark may come off and then it is not so beautiful anymore.
BUFF AND WHITE: you can just put it aside and re-soak the top or the whole thing when you are ready to finish it.
NATURAL WILLOW: you have a variety of the most beautiful natural colours.
BUFF AND WHITE: the golden brown of the buff willow. The white willow can be dyed with natural or commercial dyes.
NATURAL WILLOW: when you decide to make a basket, you have to wait several days before the willow is soaked.
BUFF AND WHITE: you want to make a basket, put some willow in water for less than an hour, and you are ready to weave.
For more information about dried willow for sale, take a look at my website here.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.