Weaving biodegradable wicker coffins from ethically
and sustainably sourced English Willow.
Jake Whitcroft – Willow Coffin Maker
@ Sussex Willow Coffins
Willow weaving maestro Jake Whitcroft runs and makes Sussex Willow Coffins, with a passion for all thing natural, healthy and ecologically sound by design.
The depth of Jake’s basketry and willow weaving has expanded vastly over the years, from making intricate wicker platters, to a full-size hot air balloon basket. Jake started weaving wicker coffins in 2015, they have been the natural progression for his basketwork and are very much now the primary focus.
‘For me a wicker coffin is such a wonderful and meaningful basket, it is an honour to make an item of such significance, one which serves families in their time of need and offers a final vessel to a loved one.’ JW
Jake’s interest in weaving willow began when he was formally apprenticed, back in 2012. During this two year period he worked full time with an exceptional basketmaker in west Kent. From this in-depth learning experience Jake developed a keen eye for form, texture and colour – skills that he could combine to make more natural and rustic pieces of basketwork.
Weaving with the more natural Green Willow has become Jake’s speciality, known for its untreated bark-on appearance and catering to those with a yearning for all thing natural and earthy. He plans to train others in the craft, continue to grow English Heritage Willow crops and help return basket-making to being a modern day profession.
‘My passion is to keep alive the knowledgebase that we have inherited from past generations, in the growing of willow and the skills of willow weaving’ JW
The willow weaving workshop…
Underhill Lane, Clayton, West Sussex
All our wicker coffins are made at Jake’s willow weaving workshop in Clayton, located in an old oak frame barn tucked just under the South Downs. Feel free to arrange a visit to the workshop, see our wicker willow coffins and what we do first hand. If you are having a custom coffin made, you are welcome to come along (at a pre-arranged time) to see the coffin being woven and do a little bit of willow weaving if you so wish.
Growing English Willow in Sussex
Providing sustainable willow for the future
A major aim of our company, is to see more land in the UK being used for sustainable willow cultivation. 2016 – 2017 has seen our three English Willow plots planted on the Weald Ridge and in the Sussex lowlands.
Our plots holds some 13 different Heritage Willow varieties, carefully selected and sourced from the “National Willows Collection” in Hertfordshire. We aim to supply all of our own willow for wicker coffin making, grown ethically and sustainably in the local Sussex area.
Find out more about our sustainable willow cultivation here.