English Willow Giants–Gog and Magog

Drawing of Gog and Magog by Olivia Elton Barratt

As I mentioned in the July 2006 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 Giants, 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.

Olivia later took me all over England to see some individual studios and homes of members of the Basketmakers’ Association and also to the basketweaving and seatweaving companies in the area.

We attended the BA’s Annual Members Spring Meeting in Oxford where I met some guild members that I had only read about through the BA newsletter or saw through their websites.

Oliva was so kind as to take me to watch how rush is harvested from the river Ouse by Felicity Iron of Rush Matters, to see how coffins and hot air balloon gondolas are made at Somerset Willow Company, and to Musgrove Willows to learn how willow is grown, harvested and processed.

Stay tuned for more blog posts and pictures of this exciting Willow Giants project!

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~~ Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much ~~

Until next time, Happy Weaving!


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