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The Whisket

The "Whisket" is a traditional, round-bottomed basket, made from split hazel, that has its origins in the Welsh Marches of Radnorshire and Herefordshire. It is similar in style to the Welsh "Cyntell", consisting of an oval or round rim (also made from bent hazel), to which ribs are attached with long, weavers.


The skill of the whisket maker is to harvest the longest weavers possible from the entire length of a clean, slow-grown hazel rod, at the right time of year. This is done by bending the rod along its length and splitting off the outermost growth ring. This is repeated around the circumference of the rod to yield around 40 - 50 feet of weaving material from a single rod, with the bark visible. A second set of weaving material can be obtained by removing the next growth ring from the rod, or pairing down the outermost set of weavers. In these cases, the weavers will be entirely white, and no bark is left showing on the outside of the basket.


There are currently only a handful of makers in the UK, making baskets using split hazel in this way. Thankfully the numbers are increasing but I am still one of the few people regularly making traditional whiskets of this style in this particular way.

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