The stave basket is a rare beast indeed! It was used around the farm at harvest time, usually to collect potatoes or apples. The baskets were made in a range of sizes, each size corresponding to a weight or measure. The handle and bands are usually made from cleft and bent ash, with the staves of fir or pine. The Heritage crafts association have listed this craft as critically endangered with only several makers in the UK.
A life spent living and working in the wooded valleys of eastern Dartmoor, combined with a design training has led me to the stave basket. I feel a strong connection to Devon. It is my home and from a young age I have been learning and honing rural skills with deep associations to the area. As a child my heroes were the nameless characters of old photos in books recording rural history or the odd occasion when I would meet an elderly craftsman demonstrating hurdle making at a local show. To me, this depth of skill and knowledge was intoxicating and felt important, creating an urgency to learn these things for myself. I worked in the woods with my father and uncle and for the last ten years I have worked as a horse logging contractor, felling and extracting trees with my heavy horses. Since buying our own woodland I have been able to focus more heavily on the wider range of traditional woodland crafts, and of course still use my horses to extract timber. I achieved a degree in 3Ddesign (designer/maker) some years ago which continues to aid the development of my ideas and practical skills. Being involved in Devon woodland culture, I was of course aware of stave baskets for many years. It is not until recently that I have been able to spend time with Mark Snellgrove learning how to make them. I'm interested in exploring the range of sizes available ( a total of nine) with a view to not only recording this lost information but to also bring more stave baskets into the world! I have recently constructed the first size nine (known as a maund) basket for many years of which I also created the necessary formers. Over the coming years I hope to increase the number of sizes available which will help to preserve the necessary knowledge for future generations. It is a privilege to make these baskets here in Devon.
All baskets are made to order, please contact me for more information.
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