Spent a productive 4 days in Bouxurulles, Vosges, France. Great to meet up with some old basketmaking friends and make some new contacts with students. Taught an Asparagus basket on day one using the English stake up method and ‘blunt, square corners’. Eight very capable French students. Vegetable gatherer on day two with the English oval bottom. Both baskets were slewed so it gave my French students a technique to try that they don’t seem to use here quite so much as we do back in Blighty. Saturday morning was spent teaching a ‘Plateau Catalan’ with some fitching to secure the rods to the hoop.
The basket market takes place on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, about twenty basket makers. Also a stand selling moulds for baskets and another selling basketmaking tools. Also good to meet some of the ‘new generation’ of makers who seem to be mixing solid techniques with more experimental work
.This is a yearly event which is well worth a visit either to attend a course or just to soak up the atmosphere of this very special place. It’s about half an hour south of Nancy and the proximity to several countries means there is a real international feel to the event. Last year I had students from Austria, Belgium, Germany and of course France. Tutors are changed every two years as well so there is always something different for students, this year Carlos Fontales from Spain taught a basket made from chestnut, Corentin Laval taught the Perigourdin, around 10 different tutors offering eighteen different courses. Plenty to do after the days work with something organised every night at the Salle des Fetes.
A big thank you to Valerie Testu for inviting me to teach for the second year and her tireless efforts in organising this, the seventh event of the ‘Rencontres Autour Du Saule’ .
To find out more www.saulaboux.fr