It's spring and my little Black Maul willow trees are decorated in lots of beautiful golden catkins!
The appearance of these little splashes of gold mark the period traditional Withy pot fishermen began to venture out to sea with the Withy pots they worked hard making throughout the cold months. The willow isn't harvested again until the leaves have fallen, which is a good thing really as they are also very good friends to the bees who enjoy the fact that willow is one of the first pollinators.
I've been photographing one catkin each day throughout a week in April to document it's transformation. I'm still yet to capture a photo of a little 🐝 and I'm sure I will spot one as soon as I put my camera away hehe. So for now I have shared an image above, which I found on www.crops4energy.co.uk
I have also popped a sneak pic of some catkin inspired jewellery that will be available to purchase later in the year.
Thanks for reading :)
As mentioned in a previous blog, my Jewel-Withy project is made up of five chapters and the first is willow. Withy pots are named after the willow tree branch known as a Withy.
A variety of willow commonly used by Withy pot makers, is called Salix Triandra or Black-Maul. It is very flexible, produces good rod lengths and is tough enough to withstand the sea. There are other varieties of willow also used which I plan to study also.
I purchased three little Black-Maul willow cuttings in the hope that they would survive in pots, as we haven't got a very large garden and I have heard horror stories about willow tree roots damaging houses! So far they seem to be thriving, so we are safe! Unless as stated in Wikipedia, “in English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself....” !!
Photo taken by Anna of a Black Maul cutting.
Black Maul tree leaves have beautiful serrated edges and also brightly coloured delicate catkins in the spring.
You may have noticed a few new willow inspired rings in my shop already :) I will be adding to this collection throughout the period of the project. I will also be sharing little sneak previews of show pieces which I will be launching at the exhibition next year! I plan for them all to derive from the willow tree and for each show piece to evolve as I research each chapter :)
Thanks for reading my blog :)