I first learnt to make baskets while participating in the annual Tudor recreation at Kentwell Hall, learning from the master basketmakers there. I found that I really enjoyed using willow and manipulating this natural material to create baskets. Every summer I would make a few baskets and then started to make a few at home too.
In Spring 2003 I attended a three day course with John Waller at Bore Place in Chiddingstone, Kent, learning about growing, harvesting and preparing the willow and learning how to make a simple basket. I gained a certificate from the BTCV on completion of this course. John Waller's course was very useful as consolidation of the knowledge and experience I had already gained. I also attended Sheila Wynter's course at the Basketmaker's Association's Autumn school in 2006 studying square-work willow baskets and continue to attend workshops to complement and extend my knowledge and experience.
In 2004 a group of local basket makers founded the Hertfordshire Basketry Group and I was asked to join. The group meets about 6 times a year for talks, workshops and group sessions. I created and maintain the website for the Group in order to publicise its activities. I attend many of the Group's workshops such as using recycled materials and making plaited baskets from garden leaves. You can find out more information about the Group from their website (www.hertsbasketry.org.uk).
After many years only making willow baskets, I also became interested in making baskets from rush. In Autumn 2005 I attended a two day course with Mary Butcher at the Botanic Gardens, Cambridge, learning how to make rush hats and pots. Then shortly afterwards, I attended a weekend course with Felicity Irons at her workshop at Grange Farm, Colesdon, Bedfordshire, learning how to do rush plaiting. I enjoy using rush as it is softer that willow and has quite a different feel as a material.
I decided to combine my love of basket making and re-enactment to become a historical trader after attending the Oyster Fayre in 2005 and realising that many people require bespoke baskets for a number of purposes. In addition to the Oyster Fayre, I have attended a number of events, both historic and craft fairs and have found that people also love a traditional locally made basket for their shopping or for their home and I have been able to make a small income by selling my baskets. I also run workshops and give demonstrations too.
You can find out more about me by visiting my personal webpage here.