Just back from windy wilds of Connemara where I did a four day course in traditional Irish basket weaving with Ciaran Hogan. I’d made a basket once before – strongish but bockety and a wee bit on the holey side – so my aim this time was to learn to do a better shape and weave.
Ciaran’s a great teacher, very clear, very patient, and generous with his time and energy. We were a class of just seven and he let us go our own way and make different things. Two of the seven had done courses before and they tackled more difficult projects than the rest of us, Ben making an oval shopping basket, Eddie trying his hand at a creel (turf baskets which used to be strapped across donkeys in pairs).
The workshop and (lovely) accommodation are beside scenic Lough na Fooey. The weather pretty much changed on the hour – sunshine, rolling mists, drizzle, sleet and snow. Mobile reception was zero, except for some sweet spot down the road at some wall I never did locate, and the internet was slow. The mountains blocked out the world (which felt good) and the weaving blocked out all of my brain’s incessant inner chatter (even better). It was sort of like meditation with something beautiful and useful to take home at the end!
For larger photos and snippets of info about the basket making click on the first photo and continue clicking the right arrow.
Ciaran runs 4 day courses in Loch na Fooey several times a year, as does his father, master craftsman Joe Hogan. Ciaran also runs 2 day non-residential courses at his workshop at The Craft Village (Ceardlann) in Spiddal.
You’ll find info on his lovely baskets and the next available course here: http://www.ciaranhoganbaskets.com/
And you can see examples of Joe Hogan’s amazing creations here: http://www.joehoganbaskets.com/portfolio/artistic-baskets/ I guarantee you’ve never seen the like before!
Below are the baskets I came home with. Delighted with them and will definitely be doing another course sometime soon.