Willow Basket Masterclasses
Have you ever dreamt of weaving a willow basket in the beauty of a natural wooded environment like our ancestors may had done? Creating not only an aesthetically pleasing masterpiece, but something incredibly useful which can last one's lifetime if looked after.... Well now you can make that a reality on one of our Willow Basket Masterclasses. Our Masterclasses are held at our woods at the award winning campsite and all the necessary equipment are provided by us.
Round Willow Basket Masterclass (6th July).
On this course you will learn to weave a round willow basket which is unique, environmentally friendly and useful and prior experience isn't necessary. You will have a choice on the day what sort of size you would like to make, going from a small one for your fruit on your kitchen table or nick knacks on your work top, a larger kindling or small log basket or for one of the many other uses you may find!
Before we start weaving we'll talk about sourcing materials and the material preparation, the tools we will use and their safe use. We will then start by weaving the base of the basket, learn how to stake up, infill the sides with the various weaves, put in the handles where applicable and finally finish off with the border. At this point you will have your very own basket to take home and use for many years to come! We will aim for you to finish your new basket at 1630hrs, although we do allow a little extra time.
Frame Basket Masterclass (7th July).
On this course you will learn to weave a frame basket. These baskets make great foraging baskets as they're lightweight but still very strong and stable. They're also very handy to have around for all your spur of the moment carrying needs! Frame baskets are a very nice way of weaving a basket, whereby you create a frame of hoops and ribs and weave around those to create your vessel.
Before we start weaving we'll talk about sourcing materials and the material preparation, the tools we will use and their safe use. We will then proceed to create the frame of the basket, add in the ribs and then infill your frame until your basket is complete. You will then head home with your new frame basket, planning your future foraging adventures with your new companion!
Another very nice thing about frame baskets is that once you know the method and understand a bit about the materials out there in nature, you can often put together a little frame basket anywhere and anytime you might need!
Considerations for both courses: We recommend a minimum age of 15yrs as a standard as it does take a certain level of commitment to persevere with it, however exceptions will be made for those 12yrs or above who express a special interest in this ancient skill (all children under 18yrs to be accompanied by an adult). Additionally due to the nature of the materials and techniques used, be mindful that it could pose tricky if you happen to have very arthritic fingers so please bare that in mind when booking with us. We will aim for you to finish your new eco -friendly handwoven masterpiece by 1630hrs, although we do allow a little extra time.
Please dress accordingly for the outdoors and have suitable footwear as will be working under one of our canopies but can't guarantee you won't get a little damp from rain coming in. Ensure you bring a sturdy folding camping chair and even a cushion to prevent numb bums along with your favourite mug and a packed lunch and some snacks.
What to expect: After parking your vehicle at the reception car park, head over to the Bushcraft HQ arriving no later than 0915hrs where one of our instructors will greet you (it's a couple of minutes walk from the car park and Bushcraft HQ is located on the bottom half of 'Fen Park').
We'll need to be starting at 9.30am at the latest as even a small basket can take all day to complete. So aim to get to us early, the kettle will be on. We will take regular breaks and stop for lunch at around 1215hrs. Toilet facilities are just outside Bushcraft HQ.
Round Basket Masterclass - £95
Frame Basket Masterclass - £95
Both Masterclasses £££ - see below
*Because we run this course at the award winning campsite, we want you to feel comfortable during your visit to us (not everyone who wants to learn basketry wishes to spend the night in the woods, although we find it very calming)... therefore three options are available to you: -
1/ Stay with one or more of our instructors in the woods overnight, where a simple yet tasty hot meal will be provided to you for dinner (veggie and other dietary preferences are available, just make us aware when booking).... enjoy campfire stories and perhaps play a few games when it gets dark (our take on hide and go seek).
Full use of the facilities are available to you ie hot showers, toilets, kitchenette etc. Just bring your own one man dwelling be it a hammock and tarp, bivvi or tarp and bedroll to sleep under the stars with (be sure to bring earplugs as our instructors snore!). A simple breakfast will be provided for the morning meal prior to continuing on with your Frame Basket Masterclass. *A full kit list will be sent out to you after your booking is made.
2/ Pre-book a pitch in advance via the campsite for your stay (there is a tipi and pod for more of a glamping experience) or rock up with your tent or caravan. PLEASE NOTE the pitches do get booked up quickly so book well in advance to avoid disappointment (weekend bookings min stay of 2 nights). Fenland Bushcraft cannot take responsibility of this and all campsite bookings are done via the campsite. We recommend that you arrive at least a day prior to the course to allow you plenty of time to set up your pitch as the course starts early, and although there will be short breaks in between, we can't guarantee that there will be enough daylight to set up after the first day.
Price: £180 (with the included 10% Crafty Campers Discount who are paying to be booked in for a stay at The Secret Garden).
3/ Come for the day and return the next. You can leave your vehicle at the main car park by reception and head over to the woods where the magic of weaving begins.
***Be sure to inform us what you plan to do so that we can ensure the most pleasurable experience for you. Throughout your stay hot drinks and cold refreshments are provided and breaks will be encouraged to rest hands and fingers.
*please note a 25% non refundable deposit must be paid upfront at time of booking (maximum allowance for booking 1 month prior to course date).
To book please contact us either by messaging us here or at Fenland Bushcraft on Facebook OR phone Geoff on 07851432413.