Learn how to weave willow


We thought we would do something a little bit different this week and a bit of fun for the children and the many adults that visit us here.  So we decided we were going to build a willow maze!

Not quite a big or as complicated as the one at Longleat but nevertheless an exciting project for us to build and one we hope you will find a little bit challenging to complete.  As it is day 1 of the big build,  we have completed the outer perimeter and have marked out all our internal passageways.

Not for your eyes that one yet!  

So far we have used over 30 wads of steamed hurdle willow just for the outside. Thats without the endless number of posts and scaffholding poles for added strength to weave around. Next we will be weaving the walls of the passageways , if the rain holds off we may get it finished this week, so keep your fingers crossed for a bit of dry weather.

Phew, this last week has been extremely busy in the Musgrove Willows calender and it doesn’t look like slowing down any just yet.

Not only have we had a really successful Willow Sculpture workshop led by Sarah Webb on Wednesday 1st July , (you must take a look at the pictures, fantastic ), but we also had a visit from Yeovil Young Farmers , who wanted to learn more about willow growing and weaving. They  ended up with some extremely funny looking fish!

On Thursday, Musgrove Willows had a day trip out to Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet. The gardens, first created by Earnest Jardine in the 1800′s,  have been beautifully restored and feature a Grade 11 listed viaduct as a most impressive backdrop. Owned now by Roger Saul,  founder of the Mulberry label, the gardens have been opened  to the public for all to enjoy. To visit the gardens or to find out more about Kilver court and all that they offer  click on www.kilvercourt.com.  We had a very successsful day with much interest in our workshops and willow garden plant climbers and structures.

Yet more, on Saturday James was at Chilton Cantelo School in Yeovil for their Summer Fete and  I attended our village event, Westonzoyland’s Heritage Day at St Mary’s church. Extremely hot , busy,  and good fun. children tried their hand at Willow weaving and we made lots of willow fish, swords and sunflowers.

willow sculpture participant

willow sculpture participant

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willow plant climber

Sculpture course student and her duck

Pigs day out at Kilver Court
Pigs day out at Kilver Court
Jane with finished willow coffin

Jane with finished willow coffin

Rachel and willow coffin

Rachel and willow coffin

Avril with completed Willow coffin
Jackie with completed Willow coffin
Avril with completed coffin, well done all

Avril with completed coffin, well done all

Everyone attending this weekends weave a willow coffin course have successfully completed their task.  All have now left exhausted but satisfied and with excellent willow coffins to be extremely proud of.  I am amazed at how dedicated these ladies were to their task and how beautifully they wove their coffins. We  all have had a great weekend, their comments will be posted on our website tommorow, so why not see what they had to say about their weekend course at Musgrove Willows. Visit our home page at www.musgrovewillows.co.uk, why not book on a course yourself and try something different?

Checking the lid stays on!

Checking the lid stays on!

Hard to believe but the sun is shining at Westonzoyland and Glastonbury again today. Wish I’d gone to Glastonbury last night to see ‘The Boss’ , caught it on tele last night instead, excellent !

On Day 3 of our Weave a willow coffin course , the students  are now well

Watching Paul border a willow coffin lid.

Watching Paul border a willow coffin lid.

Avril twisting the willow for the rope handles

Avril twisting the willow for the rope handles

on the way to completing the lids and finishing the whole coffin late this afternoon. Everyone found yesterday quite intense and the willow rope handles caused some  frustration for part of the afternoon. The lids are progressing well , some are choosing to sit on the to weave whilst others are weaving theirs standing. If your passing come and see how well they have done, we have had a few visitors over the last few days, some from Oxford and local residents out for an afternoon stroll,  who have been pretty impressed with the course students efforts.

Maybe we will see some of them back here on a course one day?

As we are only 20 minutes from Glastonbury , we are glad to see the sunshine appearing. Our course participants on the Weave a willow coffin course on Day 2 are also glad not to be completely washed out and are progressing well. They are just finishing their plaited edgings and hope to start on the lids this afternoon. If you are in the area , why not call in and see how they are getting along. Or just have a wander in the willow beds and see our rear- breed wildfowl enjoying the sunshine.

WEave a willow coffin course beginning of Day 2

Weave a willow coffin course beginning of Day 2

Weave a willow coffin course, the beginning!

Weave a willow coffin course, the beginning!

Coffin course half way through day one.
Coffin course half way through day one.

True to tradition, Glastonbury has been awash overnight,  experiencing thunder storms, lightening and heavy down pours of rain. Here,at Musgrove Willows, we are staying afloat and tying up white willow. We are also pleased to meet some new course students from all over the UK who have braved the Glastonbury traffic and weather to learn how to weave a willow coffin.

Today,  they are just starting their willow coffins and hope to have a completed one by Sunday afternoon! They are going to have to work hard to achieve it all in the 3 days.  

If you are in the area why not pop in and see how they are doing.

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