Helfa Gelf: Ruth Pybus & David Brown
Traditional Splitwood Basketmakers
Ruth and David live on a small farm in the Elwy Valley. Their basketry increasingly uses materials from their woodland, which David planted 20 years ago. They manage this young woodland for quality timber and coppice products and have recently won awards in the Royal Forestry Society and Royal Welsh Agricultural Show Forestry Competitions for the high standard of their woodland management. They run woodland management courses to share their expertise.
They started making splitwood baskets after Ruth attended Owen Jones’s Oak Swill making course at the Bodfari Woodland Skills Centre in 2009. Through this, they became aware of a local tradition of splitwood basketry and began their research into Welsh Hazel baskets. They are keen to pass on their basketry skills to help revive this heritage craft.
During the residency Ruth and David will be demonstrating two types of traditional splitwood basketry:
– Our local Welsh Hazel basket
– Cumbrian Oak Swills
There will be information on the history of these basketry styles and a chance to handle the materials. They will also be keen to talk about the management of their prizewinning 20 hectare woodland, which provides some of the materials for their work.