We are delighted to have Lorna Singleton demonstrating her craft of oak swill basketry during the Friday and Saturday of the conference.
“I am a craftswoman specialising in woven wooden products. I cut and prepare the wood by hand, managing and restoring coppice woodland in a responsible and renewable way, seeing the whole process from the tree to the finished product. It can be a solitary lifestyle and I enjoy the balance between the heavy outside work in all weathers, weaving oak in my workshop, and meeting customers or sharing my place of work with others.
My products are made using oak coppiced locally in South Cumbria, where I grew up. Oak is stronger than many materials. There is only so far that wood can be influenced, so you have to work with the material and it plays a part in deciding what I make.
I enjoy honouring the generations of swillers before me by creating baskets in the traditional patterns. However the oak swill and the techniques used to handle it are incredible and deserve celebration, so I also endeavour to design and make contemporary products that show off the unique strength and flexibility of swill.
I like to make practical and utility items, they also happen to be beautiful and tactile. My baskets have a rich heritage, they are based on the traditional baskets from the Furness area of South Cumbria (old Lancashire). Their production cannot be mechanised and so are made using the simple hand tools and techniques used by generations of swillers before me. They are also extremely durable. When I’ve made a basket I want people to use it and pass it down to the next generation, as they have done for generations gone by.”