Right before easter we cut back the willows behind the greenhouse. Willow is a really special tree that can be used for so many different things, baskets probably being the most recognized. I have always liked to create things with my hands so the straight willow branches laying behind the greenhouse felt like the best chance ever to give willow a go. Of course I went to YouTube for some help concerning inspiration and some practical information on how to even get started. The first idea I must give the credit to a co-volonteer because it was not mine, I rather just stole it or got inspired or whatever (it’s all fine no feelings hurt). Anyway, the idea was to build a willow fence in the garden which I think turned out really nicely. When I started I thought it might take a few hours but no it took the whole day. But it was very enjoyable work and fairly easy!
The next project was to make an attempt on making a willow basket. The first struggle was that I think I let the willow try for a bit too long in the grass so they where a little bit too dry when I started. The method of making it was rather straight forward and not too difficult to understad, although I soon discovered that the challenge when you work with natural materials is that not all the materials are the way you want them to be. No brach is the other one alike but I think that’s also part of the charm. Anyway, the picture below is my second attempt, the first one didn’t turn out as round more like a water drop if you looked from above.
A while after doing the fence we took down the upper, old orchard and when we collected the tree-branches and trunks there were a lot of really straight ones that could be used as building material. I immediately thought of building a bench, I don’t even know where it came from but it felt right so I went for it. I had a bit if the same experience as with the fence because I thought this also would take a day or something but of course it didn’t, it took two weeks. The first step was to prepare all the branches, meaning cutting them the right length and flatting out where the joins are. I did all the sawing by hand so my arms were dead in the evening the first day. When I started to assemble it was very unstable and wonky so I but in extra support diagonally but I had kind of already thought I would need it. Because I work with fresh round wood I also had to pre-drill all the holes for the screws but some branches still cracked. When I was finishing the last of the assembling I had the bench on the table for better reach and I was climbing on the table and fell of and sprained my ankle. Therefor I had to wait over a week before I could finish it by weaving the sitting area and the back support, hence why I took two weeks. In the end I was very happy with it, almost so happy so that it was worth spraining my ankle :)
I really liked working with willow and I am very thankful I had the opportunity to do it. I think I learn a lot, especially that it always takes longer then I think. The only sad thing now is I have run out of willow, but there is always a new spring coming.