About Cradle To Grave
WORKING WITH SOMERSET WILLOW IN DORSET
We are skilled basket makers and have been in the business of basket weaving and willow coffin weaving for the past 20 years. We weave our willow caskets using traditional age-old weaving skills, using age old methods passed down through generations of basket weavers. Using traditional weaves and traditional handcrafted tools made by local blacksmiths, you can be sure of getting a unique bespoke handcrafted willow product. We are passionate about using locally grown produce.
Cath has been living in North Dorset for around 20 years and is owner and Director of Cradle to Grave willow coffins and baskets which has been in operation since 2005.Cath was taught to make baskets in the early 90's whilst living in a yurt and became obsessed with weaving and has been doing it ever since.Cath and her son Jim went to Great Yarmouth and were taught ‘the ropes’ of coffin making by master basket maker Terry Bensley in 2004 in his tiny workshop shed in the back garden .Since then, ‘Cradle to Grave’ started to take shape, and cath has managed to cope with making coffins in small spaces ,i.e garages, front rooms and occasionally village halls.She now makes all the coffins and baskets in a beautiful 20 ft yurt workshop in the back garden.
Cath has followed a journey through bringing up three children whilst living a simpler life on the road, from living on low impact settlements to her present position as an artisan basket maker with a passion for sustaining our rural crafts.She is constantly searching for new ways to use willow, which is a plant that binds the very soil of the Somerset levels.
Tosh joined Cath in the business recently.He is a very ‘Hands On chap’ and has picked up the art of weaving very quickly, and has a very good eye for detail. He is in charge of building the viking ships ,leather work,knife making and blacksmithing to name a few of his skills
About UK Basket Willow
Our willow is carefully sourced from renewable, sustainable, local sources and harvested from coppiced stools by the Musgrove family in Weston Zoyland, Somerset. It is the ultimate form of environmental recycling.
Willow is an important floodplain and wetland tree. A good wildlife host, it stabilises silt to make soil through its fibrous roots, making it ideal for use in stabilising riverbanks.
There are many different types of willow. It is the material that once packaged all our products before the advent of oil derived plastics.
Packaging and global transport of low grade foreign baskets are now real issues, as is the loss of skilled basket-makers.
One thing you can do to protect the UK basket trade is to buy a basket from a local basketmaker. You will have a quality product that will last indefinitely, that will combat global warming with no energy taken up from our dwindling natural resources. You also have the security of knowing the cost is ploughed back into our local economy and environment.
Buy more baskets and use them with pride whether you are shopping or gardening.