Why choose a traditionally made hamper?
When I started to source bespoke hampers for Welcome Little One, I had a very specific criteria. They had to be handmade so that each hamper was truly unique. They had to be made in Britain so that I could honestly say that EVERY gift was British. And they had be beautiful and useful, as recommended by William Morris!
In today’s throw- away society replacing things frequently is the norm-and plastic is threatening our precious marine life. I am passionate about supporting businesses that use natural products which will last and still be beautiful as they are passed down through families for generations.
Discovering a true artisan
So I was delighted when I came across the wonderful John Taylor. Modest, unassuming and reserved, John represents the best of British traditions. A true artisan, he started making baskets with his grandfather when he was 9 and has never stopped. Based in a small village near Tadcaster in Yorkshire, John sits on a cushion on the floor of his workshop, day after day, creating wonderful basketware including our hampers!
John uses the white willow which he grows in a field near his house in the Nidd valley, for making most of his basketware -and cuts it as he needs it. He has to keep it damp so that it’s flexible enough for weaving, which he told me has been a challenge during this dry, unusually hot summer. The tall bunches of this lovely natural material standing up against a whole wall of John’s workshop are a sight to behold!
I was in awe as I watched John weaving one of our hampers using the same implements that he, his father and his grandfather have used for decades. No wonder he is in such demand, with Betty’s tea rooms throughout Yorkshire commissioning baskets for seasonal products, and Hollywood using his basketware in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast! I’m so pleased that recipients of Welcome Little One hampers can enjoy the results of his craftsmanship too.
How lucky we are that we can still find artisans of this calibre in Britain. There is something very special about owning something that has been made through the skill and effort of an artisan who loves his or her trade, using skills that have been passed down through hundreds of years.