After seeing examples of tension trays brought back from the gathering in Tasmania I played around a bit with willow. The longest task was collecting the material despite the fact that I have plenty to choose from around the willow house. I made a few of various sizes taking advantage of all the lengths of willow. These have dried a nice black colour. Then I got carried away and went large and made a coffee table. ( 1100 x 600 x 500 high )
I then collected some plum suckers and found them better than the willow and they display a range of colours from brown through to red. After cutting they were sorted into sizes and bundled each bundled size made a couple of different sized trays .e.g. 100x 150 ,300x 150.
This is extremely beneficial for teaching as students all have individual size preferences and it also takes maximum advantage of collected materials. I plan to use bush sticks next to see what happens.
The next thought was to add a bit of individualization so I wove some iris along the edges – left a handle and wrapped it and it became a serving tray. Plum tension tray with handle 450 x 250 + handle 100 3-
At our last Hills Basket Cases meeting several members made tension trays and by the end of the day they had all decided weaving along the edge was the way to go.