16 June 2011
Frances Cornford, Project Interviewer for the National Life Stories project Crafts Lives, writes:
I recently went to interview basketmaker Lois Walpole at her home in France as part of the National Life Stories Crafts Lives project, collecting the life stories of eminent craftspeople. Most interviews are conducted over weeks or months, but because Lois was in France I travelled there and interviewed her over three days. We ask interviewees what being interviewed is like during the interview but Lois has also written about the experience on her blog.
As a project interviewer on Crafts Lives, I’ve interviewed potters and glass artists about their lives and their careers, covering everything from creative inspiration, to making processes to the challenges of earning a living through crafts. However Lois is the first basketmaker I have interviewed. It was fascinating to see and talk about Lois’s ‘urban’ baskets which use recycled materials and to learn more about basketmaking as a craft practised by societies all over the world. The interview has made me look at baskets with new appreciation and I hope Lois gets her idea for a TV series on basketmaking off the ground, so that more people can learn about it. In the meantime, I am completing the interview summary, which will appear on the Sound Archive catalogue, and then Lois’s interview will be made available at the British Library.