Hand-woven baskets from the Elwy valley, North Wales
There is always a warm welcome to be found at Mandy’s home; nestled into the hillside looking down on the meandering Elwy river below. Arrive at lunchtime and you’ll probably be offered a bowl of steaming soup made with veg from the garden, as family members return to discuss their day around the kitchen table. Some might describe this approach to everyday life as ‘slow living’, but for Mandy and her family this is no fad or trend, its simply a practical and wholesome way of life.
Mandy approaches her basketmaking in a similar way. She grows and harvests her own willow sustainably, some grown on the slopes behind her home and some coppiced from a local community garden. Respectful of the tradition of basketmaking, Mandy has increased her knowledge and developed her skills over time and is now regarded as one of the country’s most accomplished basketmakers.
Not often can nature be improved upon, and its only through Mandy’s innate humility and respect towards her chosen material that she is able to harness and enhance its beauty. She uses the structure of the basket as a painter might use a canvas, creating rhythmic patterns, layering textures and contrasting colours, resulting in objects of understated yet extraordinary beauty.