Alison Fitzgerald fell in love with willow more than 20 years ago when she came to live in Ireland.
“An understanding of the natural qualities of willow is a key feature of my work. My abstract wall designs express its lightness, flowing movement and pliability. I love the strong gentle curves of frame baskets which can be enhanced by the natural bark colours of the many varieties of willow, all locally grown.”
Alison Fitzgerald came to live in Ireland at the Horticultural Research Station in Loughgall, Co. Armagh in the winter of 1980. The beauty of the willow beds there, with long, straight, brightly coloured stems inspired her to try weaving. Having previously studied botany she quickly became fascinated with the many varieties of willow. The local tradition of basketmaking on the shores of Lough Neagh has also been a source of inspiration and knowledge. In 1985 she set up her own workshop, Greenwood Baskets. Since then her work has been sold and exhibited widely in Ireland, the UK, Europe and America. Alison is keen to pass on these ancient skills and has facilitated projects in schools as well as courses for adults.
Recent exhibitions include Basketmaking in Ireland – Tradition Today (2003), Forty Shades Of Green (2004) and European Baskets (2008), all touring exhibitions organised by the Crafts Council of Ireland. In 2009 she had her first solo show at Craft NI in Belfast.
Greenwood Baskets has now moved to a new workshop in the pretty village of Benburb, on the banks of the River Blackwater, close to Armagh. It is open to the public (please see the Visit Benburb page for details) and special orders are welcome.