Chicken Weaving – not with real chickens!

My crafty friend, Lorie, and I like to go and have a bash at new crafts now and again and this time Lorie found a willow weaving course so we could weave our own chicken.

Well why wouldn’t you?

The course was run at Farnham Maltings by Judith Needham, who teaches basket making and willow weaving in Surrey and Hampshire.  She was a very knowledgeable and encouraging teacher with a structured but relaxed teaching style.  Most of the time she just left us to get on with it, which both Lorie and I appreciated.

Judith had models on display for inspiration; pecking chickens and a cockerel.  You could also choose a design or other animal if chickens weren’t your bag.  We chose cockerels!

After a brief explanation on the types on willow we could use, we were presented with our metal hoops (to become chicken legs later) and a big wooden block to support our creation.

We started off by making a rugby ball type shape as the building block for the body of the chicken which had to be woven onto the metal hoop. Apparently this is massively structurally important and you can’t skimp on it.

The next stage was to extend the ball to add on the chest area of the cockerel.  Judith produced some photos of cockerels so we could get an idea of the form we were aiming for.  The long lengths that were woven in started off as the tail feathers, were woven through the body and then bent and woven back into the body again to secure.  This was repeated until the chest was full enough. We also did the legs at this point with a different type of willow, the red coloured one, by wrapping the willow tightly around the metal and then weaving it into the body to secure.

The final part was to make the comb and beak, add an eye and more tail feathers if required. By this stage, mine had grown quite large and I felt he’d developed quite a character so rather than just having a beak, I decided to have him crowing, probably loudly!

And this is him, Roger The Rooster, back in the garden.  It was my intention to have him guard the veg patch from marauding pigeons but I haven’t yet found a block of wood big enough to support him!