David HembrowTraditional English Willow basketmaker. Assen, Netherlands --- Worldwide shipping
About myself and basket making
I'm English and was taught basketmaking by my father, who was also a basketmaker. Here is a photo of myself, making a fire basket in my workshop in Cambridge in the UK before we moved to Assen. You can also watch a video of me making a basket.
We relocated to Assen in the Netherlands because conditions are so good for cycling here.
Basket making requires a fairly small number of tools, as illustrated in this photo:
From left to right: "snips" (secateurs), knife and bodkin. These are resting on the lap-board which I use. This bodkin was used by my Grandfather and I use it now.
The first photo below is of willow growing and the second of stripped buff willow drying out. Both were taken at my supplier in Somerset.
History of basketmaking in my familyMy family involvement in basket making goes back at least 4 generations. My father told me of his grandfather making baskets. My grandfather lived his entire life in Somerset, and sold his baskets at the roadside. The second photo shows my father as a school boy riding a bicycle fitted with one of my grandfather's baskets.
My parents took my immediate family as far afield as New Zealand to make baskets. We lived in both Pokeno and Manurewa, and we had craft shops in both these places (called "Quantock Gifts") which sold both my parent's produce and that of other craftspeople. My parents have always made a wide range of different baskets.
Amongst the specials my father made while we were in New Zealand was the bodywork for this Chater Lea Cycle-car. In the photos are the owner of the car, and also my sister and myself sitting in the car:
After 9 years, we returned to the UK and my parents ran a craft shop in Highbridge, Somerset, which again sold their own produce and that of other craftspeople. Sadly my father died unexpectedly in March 2009, but my mother still reseats chairs and makes small baskets.
As a child, I helped by "picking" some of my father's work. This is the process of removing the many loose ends which remain on a basket once it has been completed. I also sometimes made small baskets for sale, which earnt some pocket money. I was always surrounded by baskets and other crafts, so I suppose it was inevitable that after many years of pursuing a career in software development (specialising in embedded software, real time, device drivers), I switched to basket making.
Some other unusual commisions made by my father:
I make baskets for bikes, including for restoration. See here
You can also see photos of unusual baskets that I have made. I can also repair old baskets or make duplicates.
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