English Willow Giants–Gog and Magog

Drawing of Gog and Magog by Olivia Elton Barratt

As I mentioned in the July issue of Wicker Woman’s Weavings, President of the Basketmakers’ Association, Olivia Elton Barratt and other members of the Basketmakers’ Association (BA) are building two, 14 ft. buff willow “giants” called Gog and Magog. That’s Olivia’s artist’s rendition above of Magog–Gog has a “ball and chain on a stick”.

Olivia and Cathryn working on shoulders of willow giants
Olivia and Cathryn working on the shoulders of Gog and Magog

These giants are Olivia’s project during her 2006-2007 term in the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, serving in the highest position as the very first Lady Prime Warden! She will be installed in the Court in October following the Lord Mayor’s Parade through the streets of London.

England's first Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers
Olivia Elton Barratt–Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers 2006


It is in this parade that the WILLOW Gog and Magog will travel through the streets of London, and hopefully, later take up residence in Guildhall on display for all to see and enjoy.

I was the only American to work on weaving these “giants” during my ten-day stay with Olivia when I traveled to England on my McKnight-Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Fellowship Grant that I received in 2005.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and pictures of this exciting willow giants project!

Olivia later took me all over England to see the basketweaving and seatweaving companies, to the BA’s Annual Members Spring Meeting, to see how rush is harvested by Rush Matters–Felicity Iron, to see how coffins and hot air balloon gondolas are made by Somerset Willow Company, to Musgrove Willows to learn how willow is grown, harvested and processed, and to individual studios and homes of members of the Basketmakers’ Association.

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