|Categories||Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
Social practices, rituals and festive events
|Contact organisation||Irish Basketmakers Association|
Basket making is the oldest craft in the world, and the most widespread of any craft. In Ireland we have a tradition going back many centuries, with baskets being made for carrying fuel, gathering food or catching eels or seafood, and many other things.
Baskets are made from whatever pliable material grows locally, in our case we use rods of willow, or ‘sailleach’, which are woven together. We have also used hazel, heather or whips of other trees.
Some designs for baskets are ancient, unchanged for centuries, like a Creel, or a Potato Skib, and other baskets have more modern origins. But whatever its origin, no basket has yet been made by a machine. In fact it is the complete sustainable craft,
made locally from local natural materials.
Practice and practitioners
There are still quite a few basket weavers in Ireland who make some or all of their living from basket making, and this weaving tradition is being modernised and updated by a younger generation who strive to make this ancient art relevant today. Up until maybe the 1980’s there were regional variations of the same type of basket e.g. the creel, which is detailed in Joe Hogan’s book “Basket making in Ireland”.
Other prominent weavers would be Joe and Ciaran Hogan in Galway, Alison Fitzgerald in
Armagh, Beth Murphy in Kildare, Barry Noyce in Carlow, Hanna van Aelst in Tipperary,
Martin O’Flynn in Cork, Cathy Hayden in Wexford, and Brendan Farren, Donegal, amongst others
Development, transmission and safeguarding
The Irish Basketmakers Association has been in existence since the late 1980s, whose mission is to support and encourage weavers in Ireland to promote the craft, encourage new members, and keep the craft relevant moving into the tech-age. It produces a newsletter quarterly, and an updated membership list on request.
The Crafts Council of Ireland (and NI) support the association by providing funding opportunities and other promotional support.
Irish Basketmakers Association