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The Basketmakers' Associations Challenge Cup

Correction : Apologies I made a mistake in the award that I won described in the text below - I didn't win the Basketmakers' Association Barbara Maynard Challenge Cup - but I did win the Basketmakers' Association Challenge Cup! So rather than delete all the information about Barbara Maynard I will leave as is but with this correction......

In October I attended The Basketmakers' Association AGM in London, this year the meeting was themed around rushwork with an excellent talk by rush and willow basket maker Nadine Anderson and rush technique taster workshops in the afternoon. I brought along one of my recent shoulder baskets for the competition and was delighted and suprised to win! The annual competition is the Basketmakers' Associations' Challenge Cup presented to the association by Barbara Maynard in the BA's formative years.

Barbara Maynard was first Chairman and co-founder of the Basketmakers’ Association as well as author of several basketry books including Modern Basketry from the start 1973 and Basketry Step by Step 1977 and Modern Basketry Techniques 1989. While looking a little dated now, when we have so many high quality basketry books to choose from, at the time they were useful and influencial publications.

Curious about the history of the BA and Barbara's influence I found the following passage by Lois Walpole in her article 'The Emergence of Contemporary Basketmaking in Britain' in the Basketmakers' Association 25th Anniversary Newsletter of October 2000.

"For me there is no doubt that one of the key players in the emergence of contemporary basketmaking in Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s was the City and Guilds Creative Basketmaking course and its teacher at the time, Barbara Maynard......

.......Anyone who new Barbara will remember that she was passionate about basketmaking and chair caning, and absolutely determined that the City and Guilds course, and the Basketmakers' Association, would survive and expand, so anyone that she came across who showed any ability at all was immediatly subjected to relentless pressure to enrol for the course......

......At the time Barbara felt very strongly that basket making in Britain could be revitalised, but only if it was accompanied by 'good design'. I am not sure that Barbara knew herself what form that good design would come in, and I'm not sure that she would approve of what has emerged as contemporary basketmaking in Britain, but she also disapproved of Alastair (Heseltine) and David (Drew), who she felt were just doing traditional willow work, and she was not at all keen on the sort of work that was emerging in America under the influence of people like Ed Rossbach, a textile teacher, designer and artist, He wrote a number of books. including Baskets as Textile Art......."

So with such fascinating history (and shall we say controversial opinions!) and cross references of makers contemporary and traditional I feel honoured to be the safekeeper of the Basketmakers' Associations' Barbara Maynard Challenge Cup for the coming year.

Below details of my winning shoulder basket made from Reedmace (Typha latifolia) , Lime bast and Taro root braided and stitched in the special Mediterranean 'inter-digitated' stitching technique.

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