About this project

Many people and communities have come together to carry out this research and contribute to this website. We belong to many spheres of life, from makers to academics, from museum and art gallery workers to botanical gardeners and sustainable land managers, from craft practitioners to trade promoters.

The Woven Communities project grew out of an initiative and collaboration between a group of Scottish basketmakers, the Scottish Basketmakers Circle, and an anthropologist from the University of Saint Andrews, Dr Stephanie Bunn, The SBC’s aim was to collect together and document all the diverse research conducted about Scottish vernacular basketry. The group had long been conducting research into Scottish vernacular basketry in many ways, learning skills from regional practitioners, researching in their local communities, surveying basket-related plant ecology and visiting museum collections and archives. Stephanie Bunn was both an anthropologist and a willow-weaving practitioner, who was concerned with sustainable craft heritage and the dynamics of craft practice in a changing world. This AHRC award has enabled us all to work together towards these goals and hopefully achieve a great deal more.

During the project, we have gathered new materials through linking up with SBC members who know their local basketry heritage, done scoping tours of museum collections, worked with regional curators, and linked up with botanical gardens, ecologists and sustainable craft heritage specialists. We have researched in libraries and archives across Scotland and drawn on the many wonderful web resources which contribute to our theme. We have built this website, which is still growing. And we have held our Woven Communities Symposium, which you can learn more about through exploring this site.

Through our research on this project, we have come to see that many of us are a part of a longstanding, historical community of basket-makers, basket-researchers and basket enthusiasts who have been renewing and recreating this kind of practice and research from generation to generation. From crofting creel makers to hot air balloon basket-makers, from Highland Home Industries protagonists to historians and arts and gallery promoters, we have all contributed to this ongoing woven community. We would therefore like to thank and acknowledge the basket-makers and their champions today, along with the overlapping and associated communities of curators, botanists, ecologists, archaeologists, anthropologists, and many others, who have been involved with this study, and are concerned with our sustainable craft heritage. We also acknowledge the legacy we inherit from our ancestors, the different communities of practitioners, trades-people, crofters, fisher-folk, Travellers, farm-workers along with researchers, collectors and enthusiasts in the past who have had similar concerns.