The Porthleven Basket Fair and Water Gala 2003

On a glorious sunny weekend in May a festival celebrating Celtic links, organised by Geraldine Jones and Hilary Burns, took place in the fishing village of Porthleven.

Similarities in basket techniques from Ireland to Cornwall and on to Galicia in Northern Spain were explored.

In advance of the festival weekend fifteen students on an experimental curruch building course run by Holger Lonze used woven willow, wooden laths, calico and bitumen to construct examples of these woven sea going boats. They were launched from the harbour during the festivities.

Students work on the framework for the curruchs at Chyvarloe Camp near Looe Bar

Curruchs nearing completion, just the skins to go.

Courses were held that looked at examples of baskets made upside down in Ireland (creels used as panniers for carrying peat and seaweed), Galicia and Brittany were featured as were fishing baskets and traps.

On the harbour head and in marquees on the recreation ground there were basketry demonstrations and makers sold their work.

Luis Grau demonstrates a Galician basket made upside down

Joe Hogan shows how to make an Irish design lobster pot

Lobster pot making on the harbour head

Carlos Fontales shows how to wear the Galician shepherd’s cape made from rush

Francois Desplances and Francois Geurinel from France on their stand

Walter Lloyd paddles his coracle in the harbour

The festival culminated with a magical moonlight display of lantern boats and pipe music.