Last week I attended the 5th World Wicker and Weaving Festival in Poznan, Poland. It was held in the cavernous Poznan Expo Centre over four scorchingly hot days, when the external temperature was above 30C.
The main highlight was the live weaving competition, where over 130 competitors from around the world had 15 hours over two days to weave a piece. It was absolutely fascinating to see the range of techniques and materials used, from willow, straw, split wood, roots, and rush to rattan, New Zealand flax, hosepipe, paper, and inner tube.
Warning – this is a very image-heavy post! Here’s a mosaic of contestants about halfway through the first day of weaving.
There was also another competition where makers could submit their pieces in advance. Here’s a flavour of the type of work submitted.
As well as the competition element, there was a great array of sculptural pieces on show both inside and outside the hall.
There were also themed displays from other basketry organisations and sellers. Of these, the highlight was the display of Ukrainian straw work.
Unfortunately I had to return home on the evening of the second day of the festival, so I wasn’t able to see the finished pieces created during the live weaving competition. However, I am pleased to be able to report that the overall winner was Jefke Geysels, a 20-year-old maker from Belgium who works with willow skein. His work is absolutely stunning – I bought one of his pieces last year at the Lichtenfels basket fair.