Coloured woven willow Roy Youdale, Basketmaker

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About the Basketmaker

Roy in his workshop, 2007 Training

I started basketmaking as a result of a one day course in November 1992, and have since undertaken a wide range of short courses taught by leading makers in the Basketmakers' Association including Sally Goymer, Mary Butcher and Colin Manthorpe. I have also been taught by makers from other countries including Latvia and Poland.

In July/August 2000 I was fortunate enough to gain a scholarship from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust to study with Therese Leutwyler, the Secretary of the Swiss Basketmakers' Association, at her workshop in Thun, Switzerland. I returned for a further short period of study with Therese in July 2002. Other than this I am self-taught and glean inspiration from the work of other makers, from books and from nature.


I started working as a professional basketmaker in 1994. I have demonstrated at the Somerset Museum of Rural Life in Glastonbury and at the RHS Gardens at Wisley on several occasions. I work almost entirely to commission and have a stand at a couple of craft fairs a year. Apart from standard orders for the normal range of domestic baskets, I have made a range of unusual items such as a set of winnowing fans for a schools project run by the Somerset Rural Life Museum; a basket for the 2009 Kensington Gardens production of "Peter Pan"; the motorbike panniers for the "Hairy Bakers" series on BBC 2; a set of "medieval" baskets for the film "Nottingham"; a range of different sized willow plates for a local pizzeria; a costume hamper for Glyndebourne; a large plant support for the RHS Education Department stand at the Chelsea Flower Show 1999; and coffins, both for children and adults.

I also make various sizes of plant supports and have made different kinds of baskets for garden use,and undertake repair and restoration work.


I have exhibited several times with the Craft Guild of Designer Makers of Bristol and Bath, and with the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen in Martock. I also organised a national exhibition of basketry and chair seating at Ashton Court in Bristol in June 1996, with the help and support of the Basketmakers' Association. I was invited to show a basket in the Worshopful Company of Basketmakers London exhibition "Basketry Arts Useful & Beautiful" in September 2011.


I helped to edit "Cultivation and Use of Basket Willows: a guide to growing basket willows"; and edited "Willow in the Blood: stories from the working life of Stan Derham, willow grower", both published by the Basketmakers' Association.

Style & Interests

I have a particular interest in using a variety of natural willow colours in my work, and have planted 1,800 sets on two allotments near my home in Bristol. There are over 30 different varieties represented and I am experimenting to see which varieties work best for basketmaking.


I occasionally teach courses for intermediate and advanced basketry students by request, and have taught on Basketmakers' Association national Spring and Summer Schools on several occasions. I also occasionally do one-to-one teaching in my workshop.

Membership of Craft Guilds & Bodies

I was a member of the Craft Guild of Designer Makers of Bristol & Bath and a full craft member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen for several years. I was elected to serve on the Committee of the Basketmakers' Association from 1997-1999, and during my last year was Vice Chair. I am still an active member of the Association.

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