Families dwelling in the fens around Ely have supplemented their diets and incomes for hundreds of years by catching eels in baskets called hives.
They are long narrow vessels with two internal chambers each formed with a tight closure of spikes to allow eels in,enticed by bait but not let them out until the bung or plug is removed at the opposite end.
The upset being woven in pairing weave and held in place by being lashed to the former/jig.This forms the entrance and the first chamber.I am weaving in whole withies rather than traditional cleaved or split and shaved heavy rods.I wanted a finer finish with contrasts of colour and texture between white and Dark Dicks willow.
The trap you see in construction is forming part of the Baskets of the British Isles installation at the New Craftsmen in Mayfair.This has been curated by Hilary Burns and is a fantastic way of promoting and educating about this countries crafting heratige.
Eel traps/hives, cleaved and shaved 7-8 foot rods that form main structure uprights and wood turned Yew former.The horizontal hive was a commission for a customer who visited my Open Studio in July,who is very knowledgable on Ely local history.
First chamber woven and still on the former.