What is a Wicker Basket?

The Somerset Basketmaker works seated on a wide plank – this maximises headroom for the long withies.

Using a few simple tools – a bodkin for opening the weave and piercing withies, a wrapping iron for knocking down the weave, shears for trimming the ends and a knife for an angled end (slype) on the thick end (butt) of the withies to be pricked into the weave.

The base is made first, then when the wicker has been bent upwards (staking), thinner withies can be woven around them to build up the sides. The stake withies are then woven into a border to finish the sides of the wicker basket. Handles can then be added.


Although many of the techniques are similar to English wicker baskets, diverse styles of weave, plaits and borders (as well as other varieties of willow), make wicker baskets from other countries look quite different. Examples of European Baskets that we sell are Wicker Shopping Baskets, Wicker Flower Trugs and Wicker Laundry Baskets. European Wicker Baskets are always well designed and functional. Smaller Baskets like Wicker Bread Baskets and Wicker Waste Bins are also available. There are traditional shapes and styles which have been developed over many years for the needs of local farming, crops and industries; there are also modern designs – like the unusually shaped Wicker Stair Basket, which you can place at the bottom of your stairs and fill up with bits and pieces that can be later carried upstairs all in one go.

Over the last few years, we have noticed an increase in the sale of wicker storage baskets for use all around the house and often beautifully incorporated into modern kitchens. Every Wicker Basket is handmade and a unique creation