Rachel Evans of Wheatcroftwillow makes both contemporary and traditional willow baskets, vessels, coffins and sculptures. Initially started as a hobby, it became her career in 2005 and in 2010, she was awarded a training bursary from the Basketmakers Association and undertook an apprenticeship in traditional making in Norfolk. She has since been awarded further funding from the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.
She specialises in robust, functional work, using British grown willow, incorporating her own Staffordshire grown willow to incorporate colour and texture to her vessels.
It gives her great pleasure to see her baskets being used and lasting long enough to pass on to future generations. Each decade of use will add a patina from handling, stains from the contents and slight bumps and bashes to add to the story. This is echoed by a sideline to her work in repairing older baskets, sharing and learning techniques from historical basketmakers, now passed, by deconstructing and reconstructing the work.
Her clients have included the National Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and she has made a basket presented to the Queen.
A selection of Rachel’s work can be seen on www.wheatcroftwillow.co.uk