The Basket Maker



Aghagallon, Gawley's Gate





11min 42sec







Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage


British Film Institute, Gothic Films, Irish Film Archive, Roy Spence

Rights Holder

Irish Film Archive, Roy Spence

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


A rare chance to watch James Mulholland one of the United Kingdom's finest basket makers at work.

Watch as a basket gradually emerges from a spidery bundle of willow rods accompanied by the music of Ted Hickey and Colin Higgins. From steeping the rods in the field to the finished basket James Mulholland works with swift expertise, gently talking us through each step along the way. This is just one of the gems made by Roy Spence for the Ulster Folk Museum capturing master makers at work for future generations.


As rural ways of life were engulfed by an ever more industrialised North the Ulster Folk Museum was born from a 1958 act of parliament. It continues to create a lively world of artefacts to preserve disappearing traditions for future generations. Visitors can experience the buildings, tools and crafts of the past from the weaver’s loom to the blacksmiths forge. Twin brothers Roy and Noel Spence have been making films for over fifty years; with subjects including crafty leprechauns, creatures from outer space, and the undead. You can enjoy many of these fantastical creations and more of Roy’s craft documentaries on BFI player. This film is courtesy of Roy Spence and is held in the Irish Film Archive.


Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage.

A Gothic Films production

Produced and Directed by Roy Spence

Music performance by Ted Hickey and Colin Higgins

Interviewee: James Mulholland



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