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Joe Hogan Willow Weaving

From his workshop by Loch na Fooey, Irish maker Joe Hogan creates extraordinary baskets. Over the past decades Joe Hogan has not only become a distinguished practitioner and documenter of basket-making traditions, but more recently a maker of non-functional work – beautiful basketry for basketry’s sake.
Portrait_joehogan In 1978, Joe Hogan made an important decision. After a masters in philosophy at Galway, he wanted to live in the countryside. Newly interested in basket-making, he began to see it as a way to turn a rural setting into an advantage, and started looking for somewhere he could grow his own willows and put down metaphorical roots. Unable to secure an apprenticeship, Hogan taught himself, making a point of hunting out as many fellow basket-makers as he could find. There was plenty to learn about life as a rural basket-maker, and Hogan spent much of the first decade of his practice documenting and learning the Irish traditions.
The relationship between craftspeople and nature is often close, but for basketry the link is simple and direct; using material cut from the ground, dried, soaked, then manipulated by hand. Growing the willows, preparing and then weaving them by hand: the self-reliant nature of basket-making is one that appeals to Joe Hogan.

And here lies one of the beauties of Hogan’s practice. Like the best of crafted things, it contains both the traditional and innovative, looking simultaneously to the past and the future. ‘From the outside, traditional work can look very static, but the closer you get, the more you realise that it’s experimental, a good deal of it. It’s not handed down as a static thing; sometimes tradition even degenerates. In this area, you could see that it was in a period of decay, and you revive it by looking back at older work. It only looks like repetition. There’s this idea that when you’re reproducing, nothing new is happening, and I’m not convinced of that.’

The work of Joe Hogan is fascinating the collectors attending the most renowned international galleries as well as those people learning in his workshops, visitors in museums as well as on art fairs. His authentic approach is reflected by his wonderful objects.