235 Years of Craftsmanship with Smedley: Annemarie O'Sullivan

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Continuing our partnership with John Smedley in celebration of their 235-year anniversary, we are delighted to bring you the story of another craft ambassador: basket weaver Annemarie O'Sullivan. Annemarie works with willow and coppiced wood - growing 20 different types of willow for basket-making herself. She insists this career and industry chose her; the first time she made a basket, Annemarie felt strongly connected to the craft, realising this was her calling.

Annemarie started to pursue basket making as a craft after studying the craft at City Lit in London, which is where she now teaches. In addition to teaching, she makes and sells both domestic baskets and sculptural work internationally.

With support from QEST, Annemarie has arranged to visit workshops in the UK and France to develop advanced skills including scalloming and fitching, and to learn two baskets, Cyntell and Perigord, to an excellent standard.

Annemarie mainly works with willow and coppiced wood; she grows about 20 different types of willow for her own basket-making. Annemarie insists she feels like this career and industry chose her. The first time she made a basket she couldn’t quite get enough of it and that’s when she had the strong feeling that this is the work she should be doing.

“When clients receive work, they often tell me of the joy that my pieces bring to their homes. They also comment on the beautiful smell of a newly woven willow basket. I feel like people really want pieces that they handle, that become parts of their everyday lives.” – Annemarie O'Sullivan