Thursday, April 30, 2015

Willow Lobster/Crab Traps as made in the UK called Withy Pots

 "Withy" trap made for catching crabs in the UK. 
Withy Pots are the East Devon Style from Budleigh Salterton in Devon, UK. Dave French's family has made them for generations.
Dave French making a Crab/Lobster Pot out of Willow. This type of pot is called a "Withy" Pot.  He learned this craft from his grandfather. It is a dying art and virtually unknown in the USA. I have to say I am completely intrigued. My husband lobsters in Gloucester, MA with a non commercial license so I am familiar with lobstering. As a basket maker it seems like a possible fun project to try making one of two of these pots!

Dave uses bricks to weigh down the pot, tying them to the sides of the pot to stop it moving about. Apparently they use these in small trawls with bouys on either end just like we do in Gloucester, MA.
The start of the pot is done on this wooden pillar which holds and stabilizes the beginning weave.

One of Dave's students making a full size Withy Pot.

Weaving the bottom of the Pot

Trimming off the entrance 

Skeevers or sticks are used to hold the bait in the trap. I imagine they use a whole fish like they did in the old days in the wooden traps we used. My Dad always put a whole fish on a nail. These days we use bait bags. 

I met Dave French on a basket weavers group on Facebook. He sent me these photos. I am completely intrigued! 

You can do a search on Facebook for Dave French. He doesn't appear to have a website but he was very nice to share these photos with me. 
Now.... Where do I find a nice willow tree?

Happy Basket Making,
Melissa Abbott

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nantucket Basket Making Lesson with Martha Lawrence

I found out that Nantucket Basket Maker, Author, and Authority Martha Lawrence is living an hour and half south of me in Florida where I reside in the winter months. She is the author of "Lightship Baskets of Nantucket" one of my all time favorite books on these very special baskets.
I contacted her and she agreed to give me a lesson and we started off with a basic 6 inch Basket. 

Martha is delightful, knowledgable and very charming. I was thrilled to get to work with her and learn some techniques, tips, and tricks.

Putting the rim on the basket was a cinch with Martha's expertise and techniques!

I wove as tightly as I could!

After my 2nd day of weaving!

The very beginnings... Getting those staves lined up and straight!
A collection of Monnie's Baskets. She is an advanced student if Martha's and definitely inspiring! What work!!

Some other molds and projects at Martha's in process!!

These are Martha Lawrence's  set of nesting baskets from her private collection displayed at her studio. 

My finished basket! What a special basket. I loved making it and I promise to keep it always! Thank you Martha!!