Laal Yak
Laal Yak
Laal Yak
Laal Yak

Laal Yak is made by Lorna Singleton at her workshop in Cumbria, she is one of only 2 professional oak 'Swillers' in the country.

Laal Yak is a shoulder bag made from a boiled and riven oak woven basket, with an oak bark tanned leather lid and strap. An oaky mix of a fishing creel and a binocular case, refined to be worn everyday. Both oak and leather will improve with age.

Baskets crafted using the techniques Lorna employs here were known as ‘Swill’ or ‘Spelk’ baskets in South Cumbria - a region in which they were traditionally made. They were used for everything from transporting charcoal for the iron industry, to farming and cockle picking.  

The term ‘Swill’ comes from the action of swilling cockles in water to rinse them, while ‘Spelk’ is a dialect word for a splinter or a splint of wood. In its simplest form, making Spelk Baskets involves splitting green wood along the grain into strips and then weaving them together. In Lorna's local crafting tradition these strips are referred to as spelks and taws. Beyond Cumbria the baskets are known by terms such as ‘split wood’ or ‘splint’ baskets.

Lorna strives to carry on this traditional form of making, keeping alive the skills and knowledge of generations of basketmakers and woodland workers before her.

Materials: Boiled and riven oak woven basket, with oak bark tanned leather lid and strap
cm: Length 24cm, Width 16cm, Height 19cm 
inches: Length 9.4in, Width 6.3cm, Height 7.5in 
Care Instructions: Dust with a feather duster

Regular price£990.00
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A stem of oak is cleft using wedges or a froe before being boiled in a trough overnight to soften them. They are then riven in half and again until they are of weaving thickness, usually 1-2mm. After a re-soak and a little more fettling the oak is woven into baskets and other items.