Making biodegradable wicker coffins from ethically
and sustainably sourced English Willow.
Jake Whitcroft – 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 his basketry has expanded vastly over the years, from making intricate wicker platters to a full-size hot air balloon basket. Jake set up making coffins in 2015, they have been the natural progression for his basketwork and are very much now the primary focus.
‘For me a 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 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 that he could combine to make more natural and rustic pieces of basketwork. Using 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 cultivate willow crops and help bring basket-making back 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 workshop…
Underhill Lane, Clayton, West Sussex
All our wicker coffins are made at the willow workshop, 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 built coffin made up, you may come along (at an arranged time) to see the coffin being woven and do a little bit of weaving if you wish.
English Willow Cultivation
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 coffin making, grown in the local Sussex area.
Find out more about our sustainable willow cultivation here.