Rural Documentary Project
Kate spent three years on the Somerset Levels recording traditional willow growers and basket makers. The result was a collection of large charcoal drawings and paintings, touring exhibition (2003) and a book. Kate recorded conversations and interviews with her subjects and extracts of the words of the farmers and craftsmen accompany the pictures in the book*.
“In getting to know the land, I met the willow growers and basket makers whose families have farmed this flat, often wet, landscape and hand-crafted its harvest, for generations. As I was drawing the local growers and basket makers, I was not in the here and now, I was time-travelling back 200, even 2,000 years, for willow growing and basketmaking in Somerset go back to the Romans and beyond.”
“I’ve had a good life minding willows, I enjoy it, it’s something you take to or you don’t, but if you really like it and take to it, you wouldn’t really want to do anything else.”
George David, willow grower
*Unfortunately the book “Willow” is now out of print.