Daily Archives: January 9, 2015

Shop online – 12×12 Paper and Card

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ATD Special Cardstock Offer £2.00
10 sheets of 12×12 ATD cardstock. Asstorted colors and patterns. Normal price £3.00. BUY NOW FOR….. (ATDS)

Fishing Lures 12×12 Paper

Fishing Lures 12×12 Paper £0.47
1 sheet. 29 IN STOCK (KZ20)

Neopolitan round shape pink 12×12 paper

Neopolitan round shape pink 12×12 paper £0.48
1 sheet. 12 IN STOCK (KZ27)

Real Flowers 12×12 paper

Real Flowers 12×12 paper £0.48
1 sheet. 12 IN STOCK (KZ28)

School Shirt Blue 12×12 Paper

School Shirt Blue 12×12 Paper £0.44
1 sheet. 6 IN STOCK (KZ30)

Vivid Vibes 12×12

Vivid Vibes 12×12 £0.70
1 sheet. 7 IN STOCK (KZ33)

Taste Buds

Taste Buds £0.70
1 12X12 sheet. 12 IN STOCK (KZ34)

Spicey Stripes 12×12

Spicey Stripes 12×12 £0.70
1 sheet. 17 IN STOCK (KZ35)

Blue Stripes 12×12 Paper

Blue Stripes 12×12 Paper £0.62
1 sheet. 14 IN STOCK (KZ37)

Wubie Beach Foam Scrapbook Paper

Wubie Beach Foam Scrapbook Paper £0.73
12×12 sheet. 14 IN STOCK (KZ40)

Cherry Blossom Card
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Cherry Blossom Card £0.60
Sheet of 12×12 cherry blossom card, Basic Grey. 2 IN STOCK (KZ41)

Dollshouse Bouquets Paper
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Dollshouse Bouquets Paper £0.48
1 12×12 sheet of stitched dollshouse bouquets. 12 IN STOCK (KZ51)

Vellum Baby Boy Verses
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Vellum Baby Boy Verses £1.46
1 12×12 sheet of Deja Views fresh verse. 10 IN STOCK (KZ52)

Vellum Baby Girl Verses
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Vellum Baby Girl Verses £1.46
1 12×12 sheet of Deja Views fresh verse. 5 IN STOCK (KZ53)

Damask Scrapbook Card
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Damask Scrapbook Card £0.60
1 sheet of 12×12 Basicgrey scrapbook Card. 1 IN STOCK (KZ54)

Cuddly Friends – March Paper
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Cuddly Friends – March Paper £0.35
Boarder style page with the giraffe, mouse, duck, hippo(?) & teddy along the bottom. These sheets coordinate with the cuddly friends album, stickers & pop-up stickers. Acid & lignin free. Single sheet. 12 IN STOCK (SPC18)

Cuddly Friends Paper
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Cuddly Friends Paper £0.35
All the cuddly friends on one sheet! These sheets coordinate with the cuddly friends album, stickers & pop-up stickers. Acid & lignin free. Single sheet. 1 IN STOCK (SPC19)

Cuddly Friends – Die Cut Sheet

Cuddly Friends – Die Cut Sheet £0.89
Over 15 die cut shapes. Acid & lignin free. Single sheet. 29 IN STOCK (SPC20)

Life’s Journey – Script, String, Buttons & leaves
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Life’s Journey – Script, String, Buttons & leaves £0.35
4 panel paper with printed stiches holding each panel together – a nice look. Acid & lignin free. Single sheets. 20 IN STOCK (SPC16)

Life’s Journey – Button Embossed Paper
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Life’s Journey – Button Embossed Paper £0.79
Each little button is embossed, creating a very stunning look and feel! Acid & lignin free. Single sheet. 10 IN STOCK (SPC15)

ATD World Travel – Palm Beach
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ATD World Travel – Palm Beach £0.35
Ideal for holiday scrapbooks! Acid & lignin free. Single sheet. 6 IN STOCK (SPC12)

Supreme Coloured Card £0.23
300 x 300mm colored card. Single sheet. (SPC7)
Choose Colour:

12″x12″ Re-Sealable Cello Bags £0.17
1 bag. (SPC9)

12″x12″ Re-Sealable Cello Bags £0.80
Pack of 5. (SPC10)

12″x12″ Re-Sealable Cello Bags £4.20
Pack of 25. (SPC11)

Textured Core Cardstock Pack

Textured Core Cardstock Pack £3.00
Pack of 10 assorted sheets. 12×12 size. 216gsm. Each of the sheets has a co-ordinating colour core which can be found when you sand tear antique or emboss the surface. Absolutely brilliant for using with die-cutting machines. (CC1)

Urban Courture Scrapbook Card

Urban Courture Scrapbook Card £0.60
1 12×12 sheet. 11 IN STOCK (URB363)

Beside The Pool Scrapbook Card

Beside The Pool Scrapbook Card £0.60
1 12×12 sheet. Double sided. 2 IN STOCK (04005)

Lifes tapestry – Flat Designs

Lifes tapestry – Flat Designs £1.75
5 assorted flat 12×12 sheets. Sent assorted designs & colours. (155237F)

Black/White Papers

Black/White Papers £1.25
5 assorted black/white 12×12 papers. Sent assorted designs. (PB009)

Rough & Tumble Boys Papers
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Rough & Tumble Boys Papers £1.75
5 assorted 12×12 sheets. Sent assorted designs & colours. (625389)

Shop online – Web Only Offers

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Reduced to clear. All items must go!
Dress To Impress Board
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Dress To Impress Board £7.48
Elegant handbag and mens briefcase and evening gowns and romper suit. 1 IN STOCK WAS £14.95 NOW…. (SO14)

Elegance & Fantasy Board
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Elegance & Fantasy Board £7.48
Twin design embossing board – The fan and Butterfly. 1 IN STOCK WAS £14.95 NOW…. (SO15)

Square Lustre Card Blanks – Bubbles Pastel

Square Lustre Card Blanks – Bubbles Pastel £2.00
Pack of 5 cards and envelopes. Size: 12.3cm x 12.3cm. WAS £3.90 NOW… (1 IN STOCK) (HC8)

Square Lustre Card Blanks – Bubbles Blue/Green

Square Lustre Card Blanks – Bubbles Blue/Green £2.00
Pack of 5 cards and envelopes. Size: 12.3cm x 12.3cm. WAS £3.90 NOW… (1 IN STOCK) (HC11)

Cards For Women (Shopping)

Cards For Women (Shopping) £2.25
This kit make 3 great cards. Pack contains: 3 A6 card blanks, 3 C6 envelopes, 3 A6 backing sheets, 3 complete character decoupages, foam pads & instructions. (1 IN STOCK) WAS £4.50 NOW….. (HC13)

Any Occasion Topper
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Any Occasion Topper £0.21
Blue wire flower. WAS 43p NOW… (7 IN STOCK) (CCT14)

Gold Heart Card Topper
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Gold Heart Card Topper £0.21
Gold heart wrapped in red thread, mounted on black lustre card and white card with the writing “I Love You”. 8 IN STOCK was 43p now… (CCT29)

Any Occasion Topper
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Any Occasion Topper £0.21
Ivory pearlescent hat with silver trim and white flower on white mesh. (3 LEFT) WAS 43p NOW… (CCT18)

Make Me – Letter Beads

Make Me – Letter Beads £2.48
Round Transparant letter beads. 200 piece. WAS £4.96 NOW… 4 IN STOCK (KZ14)

Sticky Foam SheetsREDUCED PRICE

Sticky Foam SheetsREDUCED PRICE £1.50
6 sheets – 6 colors: red, white, baby pink, green, baby blue & lilac. 3 IN STOCK (SFS)

Love Charms

Love Charms £2.50
Pack of 6 charms. (1 IN STOCK) was £4.25 now…. (MM3)

Life – Texture Plates

Life – Texture Plates £3.33
WAS £6.65 NOW… (1 in stock) (TP1)

Meadow – Texture Plates

Meadow – Texture Plates £3.33
WAS £6.65 NOW… (2 IN STOCK) (TP2)

Fiskars Texturing Tool

Fiskars Texturing Tool £3.15
WAS £6.30 NOW… 1 IN STOCK (TP4)

Canvas Concepts – Small

Canvas Concepts – Small £5.00
Size: 15cm x 15cm. 2 Sealed canvas. Includes fittings. 1 IN STOCK WAS £9.99 NOW…. (CCS1)

Canvas Concepts – Medium

Canvas Concepts – Medium £6.50
Size: 20cm x 20cm. 2 Sealed canvas. Including fittings. 1 IN STOCK WAS £12.99 NOW….. (CCS2)

Canvas Concepts – Large

Canvas Concepts – Large £9.99
Size: 30cm x 30cm. 2 Sealed canvas. Includes fittings. 1 IN STOCK. WAS £19.99 NOW…. (CCS3)

Terms & Conditions

Shop online – Peel Offs

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Below is selection of the peel Offs that I sell. Due to the vast amount of deisgns that I have, I have put together some supersaver theme packs.

If you do live locally, you can visit my shop to puchase them separately and to have a look at the rest of the designs.

**PRICES REDUCED! NOW 69P AND 89P EACH**
Cat Peel Offs

Cat Peel Offs £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold Cats (SPO1)
Peel Off Colour:

Stitch Design – Corners

Stitch Design – Corners £0.69
1 sheet of gold corners. Use embroidery threads to create patterns. (SPO2)

Stitch Design – Lines

Stitch Design – Lines £0.69
1 sheet of silver stitch lines. Use embroidery threads to create patterns. (SPO3)

Stitch Design – Ovals

Stitch Design – Ovals £0.69
1 sheet of silver stitch ovals. Use embroidery threads to create patterns (SPO4)

Stitch Design – Circles

Stitch Design – Circles £0.69
1 sheet of gold stitch circles. Use embroidery threads to create patterns (SPO5)

Stitch Design – Butterflies

Stitch Design – Butterflies £0.69
1 sheet of gold stitch butterflies. Use embroidery threads to create patterns. Low stock (SPO6)

Stitch Design – Bags

Stitch Design – Bags £0.69
1 sheet of gold stitch handbags. Use embroidery threads to create patterns (SPO7)

Stitch Design – Bodice

Stitch Design – Bodice £0.69
1 sheet of gold stitch bodices. Use embroidery threads to create patterns (SPO8)

Stitch Design – Hats

Stitch Design – Hats £0.69
1 sheet of silver stitch hats. Use embroidery threads to create patterns.Low stock (SPO9)

Holographic Lines

Holographic Lines £0.00
1 sheet of either silver or gold holographic lines. SOLD OUT – Back Soon! (SPO10)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Corners

Peel Off Stickers – Corners £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. (PO1)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Straight Lines

Peel Off Stickers – Straight Lines £0.00
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. SOLD OUT – *Back Soon* (PO2)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Corners & Lines

Peel Off Stickers – Corners & Lines £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. (PO3)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Flower Squares

Peel Off Stickers – Flower Squares £0.69
Various flower designs, hearts, phrases and more! (POS24)
Peel Off Colour:

Mirror Peel Off Stickers – Dragonfly

Mirror Peel Off Stickers – Dragonfly £0.69
1 sheet of NEW mirror peel offs. Design dragonflies (POS26)
Peel Off Mirror Colour:

Invitiation Peel Offs

Invitiation Peel Offs £0.69
1 sheet (PP4)
Peel Off Colour:

With Sympathy Peel Off

With Sympathy Peel Off £0.69
(PP5)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Handbags

Peel Off Stickers – Handbags £0.69
9 handbags per sheet, plus flowers & hearts (POS25)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Happy Birthday

Peel Off Stickers – Happy Birthday £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. Low stock (PO5)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Fashion Frocks

Peel Off Stickers – Fashion Frocks £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. (PO8)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Hats

Peel Off Stickers – Hats £0.69
1 sheet of silver peel offs (PO9)

Peel Off Stickers – Classic Vehicles

Peel Off Stickers – Classic Vehicles £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO10)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Music

Peel Off Stickers – Music £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO11)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Golf

Peel Off Stickers – Golf £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO12)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Various Male Designs

Peel Off Stickers – Various Male Designs £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO13)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Seaside

Peel Off Stickers – Seaside £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO14)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Floral Frames

Peel Off Stickers – Floral Frames £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO15)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Wedding

Peel Off Stickers – Wedding £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. (PO16)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Wedding Invitation

Peel Off Stickers – Wedding Invitation £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO17)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – With Love

Peel Off Stickers – With Love £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO19)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Family Wishes

Peel Off Stickers – Family Wishes £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO20)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Get Well Soon

Peel Off Stickers – Get Well Soon £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO21)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – It’s A Boy

Peel Off Stickers – It’s A Boy £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO22)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – It’s A Girl

Peel Off Stickers – It’s A Girl £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO23)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Baby Clothes Line

Peel Off Stickers – Baby Clothes Line £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs (PO24)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Numbers (ONE)

Peel Off Stickers – Numbers (ONE) £0.00
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. SOLD OUT – Back Soon! (PO25)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Numbers (TWO)

Peel Off Stickers – Numbers (TWO) £0.69
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. Low stock. (PO26)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Letters Uppercase

Peel Off Stickers – Letters Uppercase £0.00
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. SOLD OUT – Back soon! (PO27)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Letters Lowercase

Peel Off Stickers – Letters Lowercase £0.00
1 sheet of either silver or gold peel offs. SOLD OUT – Back Soon! (PO28)
Peel Off Colour:

3D Football Peel Offs
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3D Football Peel Offs £0.89
1 sheet of 3d football peel offs. Design: 2x football boat and ball in frame, 4x football boat and ball, 3x footballs & football border. Low stock – silver (POS18)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Offs – Hologram Tags

Peel Offs – Hologram Tags £0.89
1 sheet of various shapes/ sizes of tags. (POS19)

Peel Off Stickers – Bodices

Peel Off Stickers – Bodices £0.69
1 sheet of various designs of bodices, shoes, necklaces & rings. (POS20)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Dresses

Peel Off Stickers – Dresses £0.69
1 sheet. Desings: 2 dresses, gloves, clutch bags, shoes, necklaces & rings. (POS21)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Thankyou

Peel Off Stickers – Thankyou £0.69
1 sheet, contains 33 Thank You and flowers. (POS22)
Peel Off Colour:

Peel Off Stickers – Congratulations

Peel Off Stickers – Congratulations £0.69
1 sheet. Design: 25 congratulations, 5 wine & buckets and 17 presents. (POS23)
Peel Off Colour:

Happy Birthday Scroll Peel Offs

Happy Birthday Scroll Peel Offs £0.69
1 sheet (HBPP1)
Peel Off Colour:

Mixed Sentiments Peel Offs

Mixed Sentiments Peel Offs £0.69
1 sheet (PP1053)
Peel Off Colour:

Shop online – Craft Tools

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Hobby Craft Punch – Square £2.50
Size approx: 5/8″ shape. 1 IN STOCK (PP02447)

Corner Punch – Western

Corner Punch – Western £4.40
1 IN STOCK (CP6WB)

Hobby Craft Punch – Round

Hobby Craft Punch – Round £2.50
Size approx: 5/8″ shape. 1 IN STOCK (PP02448)

Hobby Craft Punch – Heart

Hobby Craft Punch – Heart £2.50
1 heart shaped punch. Size approx: 5/8″. 1 IN STOCK (PP02492)

Hobby Craft Punch – Square

Hobby Craft Punch – Square £9.50
1 square punch. Size approx 2″. 1 IN STOCK (PP215180)

Hobby Craft Punch – Daisy
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Hobby Craft Punch – Daisy £9.50
1 daisy punch. Size approx 2″. 1 IN STOCK (PP215184)

Mini Brayer Roller SALE NOW REDUCED

Mini Brayer Roller SALE NOW REDUCED £4.99
2 1/4 inch brayer roller. 1 IN STOCk WAS £7.99 NOW… (MINBRA)

Soft Grip Scissors

Soft Grip Scissors £3.50
1 pair. (HS340)

Craft Knife Set

Craft Knife Set £2.99
Soft grip precision knife & spare blades. (46307)

Straight Precision Scissors

Straight Precision Scissors £7.99
1 pair. (46300)

Straight Tweezers – 5ins

Straight Tweezers – 5ins £3.60
2 IN STOCK (HST)

Onare Vellum Stencil SALE NOW REDUCED
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Onare Vellum Stencil SALE NOW REDUCED £2.50
2 IN STOCK WAS £5.99 NOW… (PR0574)

Oldham Arts & Crafts

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An Aladdin’s Cave -Art & Craft Materials

Paint Palette Wacom Sketch by Russ Iden Jul 01 Copyright General Art ServicesVisit The Arts and Crafts Centre, situated in Oldham Town centre. Our friendly and helpful staff will show the best products for your needs and budget.

With a vast range of craft materials and art supplies to choose from, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. The shop is also the ideal place to find special and unusual gifts.

We have an array of special occasion cards.
If we can’t find what you are looking for we will endeavour to find it and order the item for you.

We are the one stop shop! Call us today ….

Products and Services

Types of Arts & Crafts Equipment

Hand drawing car by Clive MalcolmArches, Art & Craft Books, Art Cases, Art Materials, Art Paper, Artificial Flowers, Artists’ Brushes, Bisqueware, Buttons, Calligraphy Pens, Canvas, Cards, Carrying Cases, Clay, Compressors, Crackle Glazes, Craft Kits, Craft Materials, Drawing Boards, Dried Flowers, Easels, Embroidery Kits, Erasers, Fabric Dyes, Felt, Fimo, Flower Presses, Framing Materials, Glues, Greenware, Greeting Cards, Inks, Latex, Letraset, Manikins, Model Kits, Modelling Materials, Moulding Powders, Oil Paints, Oilbars, Palette Knives, Palettes, Paper Easels, Pastels, Pencils, Picture Frames, Polyboard, Portfolios, Putty Rubbers, Sketch Pads, Stencils, Studio Easels, Wax, Beads, Drawing Equipment, Foam, Lapidaries, Mahl Stick, Needlework Equipment, Prints, Sceptre Gold, Types of Artists’ Paints, Types of Pens & Pencils

Payment details

Visa, Mastercard, Delta, Solo

Additional Information

Learn new skills and meet new friends in our craft workshops and choose 3D decoupage, mixed crafts, pergamano, water colour painting and card making.

Morning, afternoon and evening classes are available.
So if you are a budding artist or you are looking for a new hobby, NOW is the time to drop by
The Arts and Crafts Centre in Oldham Town Centre.

Contact details
Address:
The Arts & Craft Centre
15, Bow St
Oldham
Lancashire
OL1 1SJ
Contact: Kate Hancock

Tel:0161 628 7868
Fax:0161 628 7868

The Magic Wand

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Some thoughts about the history of Willow

bundlesThe willow has a history as long as any plant. Stretching back to before the Ice-Age, apart from a hand full of regions around the equator, it can be found all over the world. In its wild state willow was amongst the first vegetation to appear on land that had been cleared or charred in some way – during World War Two it thrived in this country on bomb sites and disused gravel pits. Without a doubt this tenacity to hold on to life under severe conditions makes it difficult to destroy by any means other than fire.

No part of the willow is without its uses. The trunk, branches, root, bark, twigs, leaves and a few interior substances like asprin – all have some use to man. The major timber product is the cricket bat which is made from the variety Salix Coerulea and then only from the female tree. Willow gives a soft but light and tough wood with a resistance to splintering, well suited to a diverse range of uses – polo balls, steamer paddles, tool handles, boxes. milkmaids yokes and artificial limbs. Some of theses uses are no more than historical interest but the wood is still prized for the making of cricket bats.

But it is the use of osiers in basket making that interests me the most. Basket making is an ancient craft. Fragments of basket in the lake villages at Meare and Glastonbury in Somerset, dating back to 100 B.C. Woven material of some sort was known to the most primitive of tribes. It was used to support the medieval harbour wall at Dover, for carrying building materials and even as part of the buildings themselves – Winchester Cathedral was found to have been built entirely on a bed of willow. The use of willow in baskets was infinite. Baskets were used in agriculture, as seed containers, for gathering and as winnowing fans. Baskets as containers for fruit and vegetables – known by a host of different names – like flats, rips, hampers, pickers, sieves, strikes or peck cobs. Fish containers such as herring crans and cockle flats – skeps for textiles, laundry and other delivery baskets and then baskets for hoisting coal, rubble and minerals. These were all sturdy and functionable and were probably made in the area where they were needed from local willow. Fine willow was used to make shopping baskets, clothes baskets, babies cribs and sewing and knitting baskets. Livestock suck as poultry and pigeons and small animals were all transported in a willow container that was not only light and durable but very strong. Each area would have produced specialized baskets – lobster pots in coastal areas and the finely worked eel grigs used in Sussex, the fens and along the River Severn. Sussex and the fens still use a fish kiddle in the rivers there. Finally there are the curious uses for basketwork; as a framework for hides and skins. Boats such as the welsh coracle are still being made in this way and at one time shields and guardsman’s hats both had a frame of willow. There didn’t seem to be much that was needed that couldn’t be filled by willow in some way or another.

The number of craftsmen employed and the quantity of baskets produced must have been huge yet today the evidence has all but disappeared. In an age where “time is money” there was no place for something that was labour intensive and long lasting.

In the latter half of the 19th Century baskets from Poland, Spain and the Far East started to dominate the market sales and this decline continued throughout the 20th Century. Add this to an increase in the use of plastics and it is no surprise that between 1940 -1980 the number of basket makers fell from 7,000 to near 500.

Present day cultivation is concentrated almost entirely within the flat lowland areas surrounding the rivers Parret, Tone and Isle in the West Sedgemoor district of Somerset, although in the past this was also centred in the Severn and Thames valleys, Suffolk, Essex and Ormskirk in Lancashire. The range of different willows grown was vast, several hundreds, with wonderful names like “Swallowtail, Whissender, Brunette Noire, Grisette, Brittany Green, Mealy Top, Russet, Lancashire Light and Dark Dicks, Long Skins” and many more. Most of these were the common osier “Salix viminalis” and its crosses, but now the majority of basket willow grown in Britain is the almond-leafed willow “Salix triandra”, most being the variety “Black Maul”. “Salix purpurea”, the purple or bitter willow was cultivated extensively in Lancashire where it was well suited to the wet sands around the Rible estuary. The rods were slender and prized in the making of high quality hampern and tea baskets. In 1925 there were 6,000 acres under cultivation for basket willows – by 1953 this had fallen to only 2,000.

Willow likes fertile lowland sites with deep well drained soil and under favorable conditions can grow as much as an inch a day. Cuttings of 9-12″ are taken from the butt ends of good rods and pushed straight into the ground between 12″ and 18″ apart. Willows are generally harvested annually and cutting is carried out after leaf fall between November and April while the sap is low. A good crop is produced after three years with peak yields reached after seven. The rods are then graded in foot lengths and bundled up. Brown rods retain their bark and are rough to the touch while buff and white willow requires more preparation.

Buff willow is produced by boiling the rods for up to ten hours and the bark is then stripped off while still soft. During this process tannin from the bark stains the willow and produces the characteristic reddish brown colour. To produce a pure white willow the bark is stripped without boiling. After the rods are cut during the winter they are placed standing up in six inches of water and then stripped when the sap rises and leaf buds appear in the spring. Both buf and white willows are dried outside and bundled ready for sale.

My love of willow and baskets has grown over the years into an admiration for this versatile and adaptable material. I thought that I’d heard about most of its uses but there was one more. From some date before 1066 and up untill 1826 when a sum of money was paid into the Exchequer the amount was recorded on a stick of willow by cutting notches to represent pounds, shillings and pence. This stick was then cut into two and half given as a receipt. To be a valid record both the grain and the pieces had to match; obviously a successful method to have survived over 800 years. When this tally stick system was abandoned in 1826, the fire lit to burn the sticks got out of hand and damaged the Houses of Parliament. A magic wand indeed!

Lois