Willow Gourd Vessel

Maggie Smith

Willow Gourd Vessel by Maggie Smith is part of the ‘Plant Explorations’ collection, facilitated by The New Craftsmen. Earlier this year, The New Craftsmen invited a select group of craftspeople to the Economic Botany Collections at Kew Gardens to examine and creatively respond to a myriad of objects and their narratives. This piece is inspired by the layering found in storage and carrying baskets in the collection, as well as looking at the various forms of the humble gourd. Made using willow grown in her garden, Maggie showcases the versatility of the plant by incorporating every part, including the leaves, wood, bark and roots.

Material: Willow
cm: Width 16cm, Depth 16cm, Height 36cm
inches: Width 6.3in, Depth 6.3in, Height 14.2in
Care Instructions: Keep out of direct sunlight as some plant materials tend to fade over time. Remove dust with feather dust or compressed air.


For this piece Maggie incorporated thirteen different techniques in the making process. These include ‘green wood techniques’ such as splitting, shaving, carving and bending; ‘basketry techniques’ such as plaiting, twining, looping, stake and stand, cobbling, skeining, covered core coiling, random weave, hexagonal plaiting, cording and assembly; and ‘craft techniques’ such as bobbin knitting, papermaking and needle felting.
The Maker Maggie Smith Basket Maker - East Midlands

Maggie Smith is a contemporary basket maker based in Northampton. Maggie has a willow bed in Essex, where she produces her materials as well as garething materials from the local countryside. Employing a range of traditional basketry techniques, Maggie Smith creates modern interior pieces, including sculptural forms, large vessels, and baskets. Whilst much of her inspiration comes from the natural world, she enjoys experimenting and exploring materials that feed her creativity and drive her practice forward.