This is one of Scotland's native trees that has been used traditionally for basketry. The tree readily coppices, with lots of straight poles growing from the stool. Hazel is often left on an eight-year rotation, depending on how thick the rods are required.   Hazel is usually the material of choice for the hoops of large frame baskets. Sometimes whole and sometimes split. It has the advantage of keeping an even diameter, with not as much taper as willow.   Unlike willow, hazel will not resoak to flexibility so must be used within about eight weeks of cutting.  

Woven split wood basketry

Spale basket side-view, Hope MacDougall Collection

This basket has a huge variety of names. These include tatty baskets , tatty swales, oak swales, oak spales, spale-oak, scuttle, slop, skelk, wisket, spelk, swill, skep, skulls or sculls. It seems that some were made in Scotland but mainly they were made in the Lakes in the …Continue reading “Woven split wood basketry”

Quarter cran , a basket using willow and hazel

A quarter cran was used in the herring industry. Originally they were made in willow and hazel but later came to be made in rattan.