Mary Butcher was originally a willow specialist, learning local, traditional work from apprenticed makers.
She increased her repertoire and researched basket history, a little recorded subject. Widening contacts, with both UK and overseas basketmakers, and a Fellowship in Basketmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University, gave freedom to explore creative possibilities, and generated other ways of making. Mary's techniques and materials now vary from the traditional to the contemporary using natural stems, leaves, bark, wire, plastics, vellum, paper, lots of colour.
Mary's research interests centre on our basket history, so far little recorded but now being actively explored. She has enjoyed spending time with traditional makers and recording their work, both technical details and their changing practice in response to consumer demand. It gives a good record of changing economies and industries and the nature of basketmaking today.
She is committed to the transmission of basket knowledge, technical, historical and contemporary. I enjoy teaching a range of skills based on those traditional techniques she learnt first, then building on these with a diverse collection of methods. Mary hopes to pass on her fascination and enthusiasm to as wide an audience as possible. Mary Butcher has written, and co-written, a number of books to help students and all those interested in different aspects of the craft.