Jo PorterTan y Garn, Rhiw, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 8AD Biography
Just before moving to Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) in 2008 I went on a short introductory course to willow basketmaking run by the amazing basket maker Mandy Coates, and I was hooked. I had been a wool weaver and spinner since my early teens – something about the patterns and repetition of weaving became an important part of the rhythm of my life. Weaving with willow was even more appealing, and I spent the long, isolated winters on the island exploring and learning this fascinating rural craft. Traditionally the withy beds on Bardsey had been planted to provide willow for making lobster pots, an activity which also took place during the winter, ready for the fishing season each year.
With a ready source of both wool from the Welsh mountain flock that we looked after, and willow from the withy beds, along with driftwood and shells washed up around the coast, I made rugs, felted creations and baskets, to stock the island craft shop for the summer visitor season.
Now that I live on the mainland, near the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, basket making is still an important part of the rhythm of my life. I love using natural and locally sourced materials to produce a variety of containers that are useful, beautiful and sustainable. I make baskets of every shape and size, from cradles to coffins, incorporating traditional techniques and exploring contemporary forms.
I also teach basketmaking and pegloom weaving.Interests
- Garden Structures
- Rush (Basketry)
- Willow (Basketry)
- Willow Coffins