Peter Juriga, basketmaker and author of the book Basketry – The Art of Willow Craft
My experience in basketry has led me to help others, and I can help you!
|Ξ| On my courses, students have already made over 480 wickerworks |Ξ| I have supplied tens of thousands of cuttings to individuals wanting to grow their own willow |Ξ| I’ve sold more than 2,000 copies of Basketry – The Art of Willow Craft in Slovak |Ξ| Through my website and other work, I’ve continued to help people at all levels overcome their problems and improve their basketry skills
In the beginning, I was motivated by the desire to make what I imagine – something nice, something my own, and made from the available natural material. I started searching for willows around the Váh river, nearby roads, in the wild… Then I started to grow my own willows. I taught myself to weave from a few available resources but there was very little with instructions on how to weave. I searched and visited the basketmakers, gathered their experience, and I weaved and weaved. Later, when people showed interest, I started to teach basketry.
My primary work was not in basketry but creating books and other publications for customers, so I dared to write and publish my own book. I wanted to make a handbook you could have at hand while weaving. Preparing the book was years of struggle and joy, as was it’s English translation. However, today it is respected book in which the weaving procedures are so detailed and clearly shown by the pictures that you probably will not find the comparable book in the world. (You can read the review from Lise Bech, famous Great Britain basketmaker, here.)
“Hello, Mr. Juriga, I wish to thank you for the book Basketry. I bought it for myself for Christmas and since then it has been my companion in the free moments spent by weaving willow baskets. Its detailed descriptions help me improve myself and learn new things.”
Camille Vermot from France wrote:
“I took the time to read your entire book. It was very interesting and instructive. It’s very well done, quite precise and well-illustrated. The technical instructions are understandable and the English translation is skillful. It’s a precious book, allowing the reader to thoroughly understand the development and organization of basketry in Slovakia.”
“I decided to buy this book because I found everything in it that I was looking for about basketry. There is a bit of history, a bit of willow growing, how to treat it and with what, and a lot of useful tips with clear pictures. When I went through the book I got the idea of how beautiful, useful, and necessary the knowledge of basketmaking is. I would recommend it to everyone who is interested in willow basketry. This book is perfect for everybody, from beginners with willow to already skilled basketmakers. For me, the most useful parts in the book are the new basketmaking projects. I think all the information in the book can be useful because we forget things and this book is the best tool to revive our knowledge. The pictures in the book are very clear and understandable even without reading the captions. The book doesn’t need to be improved!”
Marek Czech is Polish resident of the UK, with two years of basketry experience.
See review by Lise Bech and more testimonialshere >>
|Ξ|Basketry courses, taught by me, to improve the skills of different levels
Cutting of willow in the wild
Course mates busy at work
At the end of the basketry workshop
I do them in winter and before spring in Bratislava and near Ruzomberok in Slovakia. I also do courses in other places on-demand, for organized groups and such.
Jozef Puček from Horná Poruba, Slovakia, a graduate of my special course in Sidorovo wrote to me:
“I already have collected a good reserve of rods – I’ve been up at the Vah river for three hours. I’ll dry it up and send you some photos. Your course creates a 100 per cent product, so once again, thank you.”
Monika Mottlová, a participant in the course Cornerstones of Basketry, wrote to me:
“Hi, I wanted to thank you for the course, I liked it very much and will look forward to the next one you will organize. During the weekend, I plan to go look for willow and to make another basket. 🙂
Quality rods are not easy to obtain. I already have good sources and suppliers of it and I can provide it to you.
Emil of Nemsova, Slovakia wrote to me:
“Hello Mr. Juriga. In the attachment, I’m sending you a photos of the wickerwork I’ve already made from your willows. I was very curious and eager to work with your rods. I can confirm that it is great to work with them. I’ve used willows of every sort you gave me for the products. My first layman’s impression is as follows:
Almond willow and Rubra are pretty similar and even their color harmonizes on the wickerworks and both are not very hard. The Zlatrolic is also nicely colored and upright but relatively hard to process. The Golden willow appears to be very weavable and is also suitable for decoration – I used it to produce handle. The Americana is, as it is said, good for anything, has one color throughout the rod, and is soft and very flexible.”
|Ξ|Cuttings of high-quality willows for growing your own beds of willow
Willow cuttings of many varieties
Willow cuttings – Danish varieties
I have grown willows for 28 years and I have selected varieties that are great for weaving. I am always looking for new ones across the world, testing their quality and propagating the good ones. I have fresh cuttings available in late winter for spring planting. After planting my cuttings, clients often send me pictures of their planting beds and write about how they are successful with them.
Milan wrote to me:
“I came to basketry as a boy about 40 years ago, when I helped my father create baskets … At the beginning, I wove from wild willows… This spring, I planted the new varieties of basketry willows I had bought from you. All cuttings are growing at 100%, and some have grown up to 2 metres. I haven’t cut them yet and so have yet to try to weave with their rods. I have your book Basketry, which I’m using to improve myself in weaving. I am attaching a few examples of my works.”
|Ξ|Valuable articles in magazines, on the web and up-to-date information by emails
I write articles, as well as dedicated reports from basketry events and interviews with the best basketmakers, which I publish on my site.
Iveta wrote to me:
“… I still keep track of your mails, your reports from the world’s festival of willow in Poland are amazing – it’s amazing what is possible to make and what beautiful things people make from willow rods! Thank you very much for sending your emails. They are very instructive and inspirational.”
Martin, after article arrived to him, wrote to me:
“Hello. The basket with the round base which changes gradually to the square is very nice, the bird feeders are nice, but the top favourite is the rope coiled bowl. I wish you all the best.”
|Ξ|Basic basketry tools that I offer during the winter course season
I have shears, knives, rapping irons, bodkins and sharpening tools that have proven themselves year after year and are used by basketmakers worldwide. Every winter course season I’ll offer these tools to coursemates and to my community, which you can also join.
Valika Miškovská wrote to me after the course in Sidorovo:
“Peter, once again, I want to thank you for a great course. I enjoyed it greatly, everything – collecting willows, weaving, lectures, and also the great people along with you. And at home, I was praised for my woven basket :-). I also was helped by the tools I bought from you! I’m enjoying the books I took home with me and I’m already going to make the next basket. Maybe a smaller one for my first try at home, but I will not give up! When I came home on Sunday, I immediately spoke to my husband and we went to the Hron River to look at our pollarded willows – and I must say that it looks promising :-). Well, thank you. I would like to take part in a possible follow-up for a woven bird feeder.“