Baskets, osier, basketmakers in Villaines-les-Rochers (37)

It’s a beautiful day, the Sunday before Easter, and Lady Trog and Mister Trog are poking around Villaines-les-Rochers, for a change of air and to scout things out a bit before the famous Rendezvous Troglos (Rendez-Vous in the Caves) the weekend of June 18-19, organized by the association Carrefour Anjou Touraine Poitou (CATP).

When they say “basket case” here, it’s a good thing.

Baskets, osier, basketmakers in Villaines-les-Rochers (37)

The small peasant community of Villena (9th century) became Villaines, then Villaines-les-Rochers in 1936. Wickerwork has been a major activity in this village since the 7th century, along with farming.  The village became one of the most important centers of French basketmaking early on. In 1970, the Cooperative took over imparting the traditional skill to young people, and in less than twenty years, the cooperative and the village have welcomed over than seventy basketmakers.

The other side of the coin

Baskets, osier, basketmakers in Villaines-les-Rochers (37)
Osier, which grows in alluvial soil, must be kept moist, and caves were used until financial
considerations led to the basketmaking coming “out of its hole.” The “troglo
workshops” were abandoned. And so we have the cooperative, which plies its
trade and markets its crafts above ground. The arts of yore are celebrated at
the annual “Journées découvertes de la pélerie” (Wickerwork Days) when
craftspeople do demonstrations. 
As we see, this activity has adapted to today’s circumstances and is going
strong.  And there is a happy
conjuncture between wickerwork and caves. The troglos are still there, ready
and waiting to be given a new lease on life. 

Rédigé par Patrick Edgard Rosa le Lundi 25 Avril 2011 à 20:32 | Lu 374 fois