Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Willow workshop

Weeks and weeks ago I arranged a private workshop with local willow expert, Phil Bradley.  That was before Daisy when I didn't have to worry about being out for hours.  I called Phil last week and explained Management wouldn't be at home to dog-sit, none of the neighbours knew her well enough yet, so please could we change the date?  He said "sure, but if you like, bring her with you if she won't mind sitting in the workshop in front of the fire all day?"  Knowing there was a reasonable chance that Daisy would accept such conditions I said yes.  Phil only lives 10 minutes away so if it had all gone badly wrong I could have jumped in the car and taken her home.

We've both had a fabulous day, Daisy got to lay in front of a wood burner from 10.00am* and I learnt how to make a willow cloche to exactly my own specification and design.  I took Daisy's lunch with me, Phil provided mine (homemade soup) and I've come home mentally exhausted from concentrating but extremely happy.  My plan for tomorrow is to take some 1" thick MDF that we were given ages ago and make my own base board, then next week I will go back to Phil's and collect willow to construct more cloches on my own.

After successfully making the fedge last year I reckoned I'd get on OK with another structure but I wasn't prepared for what a satisfying, tactile and thoroughly brilliant experience it would be.  When I made the fedge I loved working with willow, now I am completely smitten.

* she thinks my habit of not lighting the stove until the afternoon is quite unreasonable.

Like something out of Country Living magazine, this wonderful workshop is attached to his house.  Daisy is making herself at home :}

In position by the top pond providing protection for the Gunnera Manicata.  If it was extremely cold I could put straw inside the cloche for extra insulation.

Phil builds willow structures, including many at RHS Harlow Carr (Harrogate) and local schools and teaches widely.  His classes at the Greystoke Cycle Cafe in 2013 are here, and Googling brings up other locations.


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    1. Thanks Susan, I am sure you have learnt much more than I will ever know if you've been doing this for years :}

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Sue. Unfortunately it is 'cloche' singular for the time being, but I've made a start on the preparations needed to construct more at home.

  3. That looked a fantastic day and I love the cloche. I used to go to basket weaving classes and really enjoyed it.

  4. Ditto to what Lakeslover said. I too went basket making many moons ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. Jill, CB, thank you. Seems I am the last person to have a go at this :}


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