Nov. 7, 2022

Spelk Basketry - Lorna Singleton - BS087

Spelk Basketry - Lorna Singleton - BS087

Lorna Singleton is a coppice worker, basket maker and green woodworker. Specialising in Spelk Basketry -

About Lorna - "I am one of the UK’s last remaining ‘swillers’, a specialist in weaving baskets using coppiced oak. From a workshop tucked away in the Cumbrian woods I weave traditional baskets known as spelk baskets, or swills. I cut and prepare the wood by hand, seeing the whole process through from the tree to the finished product, coppicing the woodland to create a truly renewable resource and improving biodiversity. I’m one of the last people still practising this ancient skill and keeping this important knowledge alive."

This episode is part of a trio focusing on the technique of coppicing.  THey were made possible by the Bill Hogarth Memorial Apprenticeship Trust (BHMAT).

*** BHMAT are now inviting applications for our next placement and hope to interview and start the placement soon (by the end of the year/beginning of 23 hopefully). ***

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Lorna Singleton

Spelk Basket Maker and Coppice Worker

I am one of the UK’s last remaining ‘swillers’, a specialist in weaving baskets using coppiced oak. I am a graduate of the Bill Hogarth MBE Memorial Apprenticeship Trust, three years of intensive tuition in coppice woodland management and crafts. Using simple hand tools and techniques from generations past, I create baskets based on the traditional patterns from the South Cumbrian region as well as contemporary applications of this historic practice.

In 2017 oak swill basketry was listed as a Critically Endangered Craft in the Radcliffe Redlist of Endangered Crafts and hazel basketry was newly listed as Critically Endangered in the 2021 update.