Meet the Maker: Judit from Wonder Weaver
Welcome to the Cosy Craft Club's basket making month! We really want to encourage you to have a go at basket making yourself, and we'll be sharing the key things you need to know to get started. You can find all our basket making posts in one place here.
We love to meet the makers behind our kits, so today we are getting to know Judit from Wonder Weaver who created our lovely basket making kit!
Please can you introduce yourself?
My name is Judit, I am a Hungarian living in the UK. I am married to a wonderful supportive husband and we have 2 amazing kids. I've spent half of my life playing the violin and finished my studies as a professional musician. I played authentic Baroque music on a 250 years old, restored violin and had an Irish band having lots of fun in gigs. My life turned 360 degrees when I was 21 and my precious instrument was stolen. I didn't find myself for a long time and finally I ended up as a furniture restorer. I love trying kind of new things including different crafts. I was lucky enough to learn a lot from my mom and grandma, such as sewing, cross-stitch and embroidery (traditional Hungarian patterns), and I picked up a lot of other crafts by myself like needle and wet felting, paper mache, soapmaking, woodwork, basket making and watercolour painting. A couple of years ago basket making and cane weaving (you know, those intricate rattan seats) became my "job" and I created the Wonder Weaver Design brand. As part of this I provide DIY kits, accept commissions, do live demonstrations at fairs, teach at workshops and sell rattan products as well.
How did you get into basket making?
One day, about 10 years ago, a very close friends of mine surprised me with 2 basket making kits. At that time I was a single mom and I think I very much needed a new hobby. I rarely had any quality time for myself and even if I had I didn't know how to spend it, or what would make me happy. When I started basket weaving I was very enthusiastic and excited. I found it to be so relaxing and therapeutic! It drags me out from my everyday troubles and struggles and I got hooked immediately.
What do you enjoy about it?
I love that it is so natural in so many ways. It is an ancient craft that we have done for thousands of years all around the world. It is present in every culture and it's always been part of our lives. Also, working with natural materials is so satisfying. And creating something beautiful and useful that is yours and that lasts is something that you can’t compare.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on creating new DIY kits which will be built up gradually. In the beginning of the 20th century, basket making was taught in schools. Today there is no curriculum for basket making and I think it would be important that these craft activities come back.
What is your favourite thing that you have made?
Each piece is special to me in different ways but I think I love the rattan crowns best. When I was designing my first basketry kits, my son found a basket with no base (as I needed that for another project) and started to wear it as a crown. This gave me the inspiration to make him one which was a great success and soon became quite popular.
Where do you like to go for basket making inspiration?
There's an international basket making group on Facebook with more than 9000 fellow basket makers where we share our artworks, events, tips and tricks. It is a very friendly and supportive group. I am also a member of the Basketmakers Associations and meeting with other members, at fairs for example, is also very inspiring. It’s a bit strange but many of my ideas come from my dreams and when I wake up, I cannot wait to actually make what I was dreaming of. And of course I like Pinterest a lot too!
What do you need to look for when buying basket making supplies and where can you get them from?
I use different sizes of rattan, or centre cane as it is called here. You would use a bigger size for the spokes and smaller for weavers. Rattan should be relatively fresh as it gets dry and brittle by time. High quality materials are important. I usually buy them online from a seat weaving supplier in Dorset as I find they are reasonably priced and still high quality products.
What resources would you recommend to someone starting out in basket making?
A simple wooden blank, a drill and some rattan and you can start!
What are your top tips for someone who is starting to learn basket making?
Practice, practice and practice. :)
If someone tried basket making and quite enjoyed it, what would you recommend as the next steps for them?
Think of some new projects and make them by repeating and practising what you've learnt so far. If you run into something that you don't know, look it up, do your own research, and ask. There's a lot of knowledge available on the internet, just reach out for it. Also, books are great resources. You can also look up workshops and try out another technique.
Why do you love to craft?
Crafting opens up the world to me. It actually sets me in a creative mindset where anything is possible, I can solve any problems or trouble so much more easily and that gives a winning attitude in life. It actually gave me back my self-esteem and confidence and I have a lot of fun creating!
That was so lovely to get a peek into Judit’s story and the way basket making has changed her life. You can see more of Judit’s work on the Wonder Weaver website, and her Facebook and Instagram pages. Head on over and show her some love!