Sunset view of the ridge locally known as Cat’s Back Baskets with fields in the foreground and mountains in the background

Hello and welcome to Cat’s Back Baskets,

My name is Malcolm Farrow and I weave willow baskets in small quantities. My love of baskets stems from the joy of being able to weave beautiful, useful, and sustainable objects from what might at first appear to be simply a bunch of sticks.  Baskets serve all sorts of purposes around our house and garden, including ferrying our elevenses coffee, collecting home grown vegetables and keeping the place tidy. At the end of their life the baskets are recycled as kindling or left to rot back into the earth.

My initial foray into basket weaving involved cuttings from my garden: first hazel and then larch twigs. After attending a willow weaving course I was inspired to improve my basket making skills by making lots of baskets, helped by having extra time during lockdown. I started Cat’s Back Baskets after friends and neighbours were keen to acquire my baskets. The name Cat’s Back Baskets originates from the local name for the ridge behind our house in Knockfarrel.

The willow I use is either sourced locally—from my garden and a woodland on a nearby croft—or from the main UK willow growing areas in Somerset. My plans for the future will hopefully allow more of my willow to be sourced locally. To prepare the willow I harvest it in the winter months and allow it to dry out for 3 to 4 months. Then the willow is soaked in water for up to a week to make it flexible enough for weaving. Depending on the size of the baskets I am making it takes between half a day and a full day to weave a basket. Then the baskets are allowed to dry out again for another week. Baskets that are made to order from the online shop take 2 to 3 weeks for delivery because of this 2 week basket making process. Baskets that are unavailable online until the later half of the year are generally made from willow that is still drying after harvesting.

Please visit the Shop page to see my currently available baskets for sale or contact me to discuss a custom basket.