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Mandy weaves her magic at Ruthin Craft Centre

Published date: 26 July 2014 |
Published by: Free Press Reporter
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A TALENTED basket weaver has overcome a shortage of willow – she now grows her own.

Mandy Coates, aged 53, will be demonstrating her skill at Ruthin Craft Centre as part of a series of free activities over the summer.

She'll be giving an insight into her weaving techniques and how she grows and prepares the willow in the open access craft event over the weekend of August 23-25.

The event is one of a series of activities over the summer, climaxing at the Open Doors Weekend on the final weekend of September.

The mother-of-three said she was looking forward to sharing her skills and love of basket weaving with visitors to the craft centre.

The Making Insights open access sessions started in June when performer and costumiere Ceri Rimmer and musician Henry Horrell show off their skills to visitors.

The project was made possible by funding from Cadwyn Clwyd through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Ruthin Craft Centre’s education officer Sioned Phillips explained: “Each weekend features a different applied artist or craft person and will include an open studio experience at the centre. All the sessions are free and are suitable for anyone over the age of four.

"The people taking part in the open access sessions are all locally based so it is real celebration of what we have on our doorstep and also a celebration of the art of making.”

Mandy, who lives on a smallholding near Moelfre, Abergele, explained: “I first got interested in basket weaving when I was living in Cheltenham and had gone to a festival.

“I happened to see a lady making a beautiful basket which really captured my imagination.

Much of Mandy’s craftwork is sold through galleries throughout the region while she is also commissioned by customers to create specific pieces.

On August 23 from 11.30am to 12.30pm, accompanied by a slideshow, Mandy will talk through the process of growing, gathering, grading and preparing her home grown willow.

She will talk about her studio practice and her work and demonstrate square willow work.

Mandy will return to the centre on August 24 where from 11am to 3pm she will deliver a hands on willow weaving session.

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