Willows for baskets

Wednesday 10th of April 2019, 05:20 PM (7 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | brownsteing@landcareresearch.co.nz

Speaker: Maia Mistral.

Willows introduced to New Zealand can be subject to bad press. Often neglected in the debate are willow species that humans have depended upon for centuries for their high utility values. One such group of willows selected over time specifically for their flexibility and amenability to cultivation are referred to collectively as basket willows. For those interested in learning willow basket making or considering it as a vocation, a lack of access to suitable willow can be a major barrier to progress. In fact, securing a reliable supply of raw material has been an ongoing concern even amongst professional willow basket makers who first began to work in New Zealand from the mid-19th century. This talk will use insights from the past to discuss the relative value of importation, wild harvesting and traditional coppice management of selected basket willow varieties as pathways for securing material supplies in the future.