Willow Baskets by Joe Hogan

Joe Hogan’s experience in weaving willow baskets is not from now. He has been making baskets in Loch in Fooey, Ireland since 1978, where natural willows have been grown and used on his creations ever since. After years of experience, Joe earned a reputation for making strong, durable baskets of the highest quality, and in 2018 he was commissioned by Loewe to make several pods that were displayed at their Spring/ Summer 2019 fashion show held at UNESCO building,  Paris in late September 2018. 

The beginning

Joe Hogan: I wanted to rediscover my own connection with the natural world in my work, and I felt like I wanted to introduce elements such as pieces of found wood, stones, wild materials, and other things that interested me. Rilke described us (humans) as the “bees of the invisible”. I personally sense that our task is to bring back to life the images stored in us. It resonates with me.

The main challenges

Joe Hogan: It is not particularly difficult to work with one’s own willow and in fact, the choice I have available is often better than if I were to buy willow. There is a lot of planning to have different types of willow ready to work at the same time.

Joe Hogan: I was not born where I live. Although it was not far away from the land, the scenery and landscape here have had a huge impact on me and thus, on the work I do. I feel that if we could appreciate the natural world more, we would be more careful about how we use it. It is important for me to live in the countryside, as I can appreciate the beauty of this place every day. We also grow part of our own food and grow forests, so it is all-important to the way we live.

Joe Hogan: Perhaps there is more appreciation of crafts in the last 10 years but I think there have always been some people interested in crafts. As to whether there will ever be a widespread appreciation of the importance of crafts, I don’t really worry about that, as it is something I can’t control. I like these lines from the Tao Te Ching which suggests that to “care too much about people’s approval and you become a prisoner (of approval), do your work, then step back. This is the path to serenity”. I am grateful that I can do the work I like and that enough people appreciate this work so that I can continue to do so.

Interview with Joe Hogan | Featured Image: Roland Paschoff, courtesy of RDS.