Traditional Fruit and Vegetable Baskets in White Willow
Spent a couple of days making Covent Garden Sieves this week. This traditional British basket was taught to me back in 1986 by my Master Terry Bensley who made them along with many other traditional baskets all of his working life. They were used on Covent Garden Market for fruit and vegetables and made by many individuals and basket making firms all over the country and then sent to London.
The post cards show porters on the market carrying them on their heads, the bottoms were slightly domed which made them very strong and enabled them to be balanced easier. Competitions were arranged to stack the most and to race with them on their heads.
When I was taught this in the mid 80’s many basket makers had been suffering for some time with the influx of cheaper inferior imported baskets coming in from the Far East. Many basket makers were forced out of business and it struck me as ironic that the baskets I made this week are now heading in the opposite direction, to Japan, hopefully I wont be putting any Japanese basket makers out of business with a dozen Covent Gardens! Anyway they are a lovely basket to make and very practical as a storage basket around the home. I have made some extras which are available on the Shop page under Specials