Very pleased to be chosen by the Basket Makers Association for their latest newsletter in the Meet the Maker feature. As a taster below are the first and last questions. The newsletter has been revamped of late and has some interesting new features for basket makers, chair re-seaters and any one interested in crafts. If you are not a member its well worth joining for the quarterly newsletter.
Meet the Maker Questions – Adrian Charlton
When did you start making baskets and how did Norfolk Basket Company start?
I started making baskets in 1985. At the time I was working on North Sea Oil rigs and it was dirty, hard and dangerous. On leave I met an old basket maker at a market in North Norfolk. I was intrigued by the variety and colours of the baskets and soon after set about finding someone to teach me the trade. I took a huge drop in wages on leaving the rigs but made a huge move forward in job satisfaction and personal autonomy. After my apprenticeship I started Traditional Willow Basketry, when my wife Ruth and I started working together we formed the Norfolk Basket Company.
Can you share a making tip with us?
With so many courses available it’s tempting for beginners to book one after another with many different makers. This is all very well as a means of building up your technical knowledge but you must know when to employ these different techniques to their best advantage or else you can end up with a mix that doesn’t work either aesthetically or functionally. The tip I give most often to my one to one students who are considering basket making as a profession is to “keep it simple”. Develop a range of baskets that you enjoy making and make them again and again so that you become fluent at completing them quickly without a loss of quality.