BELATED birthday presents for Kirsty Tapp and her Mum, Annabel, from Crediton was a one-day fruit basket making course at Yeoford led by Jane Welsh of Morchard Road.

The following day Jane helped people make either a round or a bowl basket. A skilled basket maker, she has been making baskets for more than 20 years, working professionally and running courses for the last 11 years.

She said she feels ardently about protecting the knowledge of our traditional rural crafts that are so much part of our heritage. These were her first local courses since last year.

With a small display of her own baskets, Jane had photographs of the many ways baskets were used such as Ulster potato baskets, fish baskets, a basket pram and charcoal making.

Jane’s courses were at Yeoford Community Hall. With the local people were others from Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth and Exeter, a first attempt at basketry for them all.

Materials were provided by Jane, all willows from the Somerset Levels. During a recent Sunday Jane’s students included three generations of one family and were mostly fairly local people.

She said the two days were really successful, including a few left-handed people.

On June 5 and 6 she is running a two-day course at Morchard Bishop to make trugs or square storage baskets.

Her full course list is on her website. Anyone interested can receive a free copy of the Basketmakers Southwest newsletter as a pdf via email. Membership is £9 a year.

Praising the Yeoford hall Jane said it was an ideal space, especially now with the covid restrictions. When it stopped raining they were able to work outside which meant people could take their masks off.

Sue Read