Hancock, Ivor (b.1934)

Ivor Hancock, basket-maker, explains the craft of basket-making by undertaking the various processes during the recording.  Ivor talks about the tools and shows how each one is used at the various stages of making a basket, he discusses the types of willow used and the different weaves in making baskets.


Ivor is now retired from full-time work, but goes to agricultural shows and events demonstrating how to make baskets.  He sells baskets at these events.

Ivor Hancock of North Petherton, 2001. Ivor Hancock of North Petherton, 2001.
Sound File
Listen to Ivor Hancock - 1.80MB Duration 3:55 min.

AH: Are there other types of weave that you do on the base?


IH: Yes.  You can round a base, you can either round it or [slope], whichever, whichever you like, you know, you do the base whatever your, what your, according to what basket you’m doing, or what...


AH: What kind of basket is this going to be?


IH: Same one as that, a log basket.  This is a log basket just exactly the same as the other ones out there.


AH: Do you remember when we met before?


IH: Yes.


AH: You were talking about what they used to carry peat in?


IH: Yeah, the, that, that’s a smaller version, the smaller, smaller version of that, they call them log baskets now, well, you can use them for peat you can use them for logs you can use it for anything the farmers used to use it for feeding their cattle years ago for putting their mangolds in, that had been pulped up, and that, it’s all the same but people just got different names for it really.


AH: I suppose things change, don’t they, I mean...


IH: Yeah.


AH:  ...Farming’s changed, peat has changed, so they no longer use baskets do they?


IH: No.


AH: So how high would the farmer’s basket be?


IH: Well, we used to be, we used to make an oval one and he used to be fifteen inches high, used to be fifteen inches high and he would be like twenty-one inches long, but your, like on the oval and he was made for putting under the old machines years ago what used to pulp it with, he would fit in underneath and slide out and he was made that bit longer so that when the pulp you know the mangolds fell down when they were pulped up they could spread them out but he had to be that narrow for going underneath the four legs.


AH: Right because they used to mix the mangolds, didn’t they, with, with corn?


IH: With corn and that, that’s correct yeah and this was, that was an oval type one but the round ones was used for carrying other things but the oval, we used to make oval ones specially for going underneath the machines, and he had to be like more or less not 100% right but more or less you know you had to do it like that.


AH: What do you think about when you’re doing this?


IH: Nothing.  Not a lot really. Just carry on I do, I’ve got no worries; don’t owe nothing, just sits here on me own. That’s it, thing about, you know, concentrating on what I’m doing.   And now, when get back to where you started, you just come up over the thing and just carry on until you’ve run out the four... run out your four and you just carry on like that, back, until you get back, there, and then you go round your basket, pick up your other four, and you bring them up, over.


And then [] your lapboard you want now. You put your lapboard on your knees if you want to, for work, whatever.  You put your lapboard there, put your, your weight in it. So your hoops is nice and tight.  You see the hoops, near enough the same size now as what you want.  You want some bigger but as the basket comes around. Now you just carry on using ...your waling.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in January 2003. Photograph ©Ann Heeley Collection. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.