When did you decide to pick up this craft?
I was living in the wild west of Donegal. Driving an old van round a twisting country road, I saw a willow garden dancing in the breeze. Long rods, leaves blowing in unison in windy waves. I discovered they were the work of Charlie Danny Gallagher.
What was the first object you made?
Charlie showed me the basics of making a creel, so the creel was my first basket. It is made upside down, and the bottom is woven last. It is definitely still a favourite because of its unique shape, and it is very Irish, of ancient Gaelic origin.
How do you select your willow for a project?
I have already handled it three times before I use it: in the cutting, grading, soaking. Then the weaving process begins. Lots of willow gets discarded in these processes, so by the time it reaches its final use, it really is the right rod for the right creation.
What is a memorable moment in your professional life?
The most memorable moment was walking out of my civil engineering office in London, knowing it was not for me. Throwing away a steady and pensionable job, and not knowing the future. It was terrifying, and it was my first taste of freedom.