Posted 4th Jul 2016
For centuries willow has been used for making everything from baskets and natural fences to ladders and sculptures, and anyone can give it a go. Why not try willow weaving for yourself and make this handy wicker tray?
1 Twist two willow shoots together and make an oval ring of the desired size. The thick and the thin end should overlap by quite a bit.
2 A little left of the centre, place the thick end of a vertical rib around the bottom of the ring and then horizontally behind the right-hand side of the ring. Do the same on the right-hand side. Both of these central ribs should run upwards, parallel to one another.
3 The first woven strand of willow starts with its thick end beneath the left-hand central rib. It should be woven alternately over and then under the central ribs and the outer ring. The thin end should end up on the underside of the tray.
4 Place the second strand of willow with its thick end overlapping the thin end of the first strand, if possible below one of the central ribs. Continue to weave from one side to the other. Each strand should always finish inside the outer ring, never on the edges and wherever possible on the underside of the tray.
5 To ensure that the weaving is even and free of gaps, press the shoots firmly downwards after completing each row. Take care when bending the shoots back as they are liable to break. Finally, add the last strand to the weave and trim the ends.