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John Cowan's baskets are all handmade by John in his small workshop in Lanark using UK-grown willows, hazel, and occasionally rattan when he is reproducing a few traditional basket styles. Most of the willow John uses is unstripped so the natural and varied colours of willow bark, as well as its ephemeral fragrance are features of his baskets. 


Large-size Fruit Gathering/Peg baskets


Umbrella/Stick Basket (bespoke colours)


John reproduces old basket designs that were once commonplace in agriculture and the UK fishing industry, but now can be used domestically as sturdy log baskets or attractive quality storage baskets. Besides making traditional basket designs, John welcomes commissions of made-to-measure & bespoke pieces.

Large-size Shopping Baskets


1/2 Bushel Log Baskets



John Cowan began making baskets aged 25 years. John has spent a considerable amount of time learning traditional basket making skills with Colin Manthorpe in Norfolk and Virgilijus Bauzys in West Kilbride after attaining a grounding in the craft from Geoff Forrest. John has had many inspirational basket encounters with basket maker and artist Lise Bech and Lise has contributed greatly to John’s understanding of willow and making a living from basketry. Many of the designs John makes are based on those recorded in Colin Manthorpe's notebooks. John is grateful to Colin for inviting him to his home in Norfolk to learn the traditional method of making the Quarter Cran and for so generously sharing his vast skill & knowledge of basket making. John continues to spend one week each year in training with Colin.



Quarter-cran Herring Basket


John is a member of The Basketmakers Association & The Scottish Basketmakers' Circle & The Heritage Crafts Association 


John's work has been included in the following

exhibitions of basketry:


The Makers' House at Burburry London - 1 Manette Street, London W1D 4AT - 21 - 27th September 2016



Baskets of the British Isles - Decorex

International 2015 - Syon Park, London,

20-23rd September 2015


'We are all Basketmakers' hosted by Craft Town

Scotland, The Barony Centre, West Kilbride

14th March - 10th May 2015


'Basketry Identity' Selected Exhibition,

Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton-on-Thames,


23 March - 24 April 2015





To purchase one of my stock baskets or

made-to-measure baskets, please get in

touch by visiting the 'Contact' page.



Moses Basket


Twin-lidded Picnic Basket



Colourful Rectangular Linen Basket


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