Devon stave baskets are an incredibly strong, beautiful form of basket from the SW of England. Research by the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) identified the craft as being critically endangered with a single known maker, Mark Snellgrove, working at that time.
In 2017 I was awarded the inaugral Marsh Endangered Crafts Award by the HCA to learn to make stave baskets, promote them and work to preserve the craft. I visited Mark Snellgrove in early 2018 and since then have been making these baskets, refining my skills and promoting them and sharing the process through my SteveTomlinCrafts Instagram feed.
I was featured in the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) book ‘A Celebration of British Craftsmanship’ with my stave baskets in recognition of this project and to help promote them to a wider audience.
Each basket is made from locally sourced ash with is bent to form a handle and upper rim. Softwood staves are then fitted to the rim and base using copper nails. Each stave is carefully shaped to fit without gaps to form the strongest basket. After all the staves are fitted, another piece of ash is bent around the bottom of the basket to secure the staves in place.
Several sizes of Devon stave basket were traditionally made. I currently focus on the #2 size which measure 18″x12″ and 7.5″to the rim. This size is perfect for harvesting produce, carrying kindling and anywhere a robust, practical basket is needed.
I make these baskets in small batches, posting progress on my instagram feed. My stave baskets often sell before they are finished so if you are interested in ordering, please contact me by email steve[at]stevetomlincrafts.co.uk