Gardens Illustrated .. Profile .. July / August 2000  
Although rooted in traditional basketry, Lizzie Farey's woven pieces are sculptural rather than functional. Her secret is to guide the wood into fluid shapes, rather than twist or force it, as she tells Elaine Abbott.
Lizzie Farey's baskets have evolved from functional shapes into sculptural forms which are displayed in art galleries, homes and gardens - looked at and admired but far too beautiful to use. Although rooted in the discipline of traditional basketry, which has long been & strong rural skill in Scotland where she is based, this direction reflects Lizzie's fascination with the materials she uses, which include willow, hazel, dogwood, rowan, larch and ash.
"I'm inspired by the natural beauty of the wood that I use and want people to really look at the materials, not just see a merely functional object." The decorative globes she makes by weaving in apparently random directions reinforce this: "The technique becomes lost - people can't see how they're made, there's no beginning, middle or end. You have to look at the piece as a whole." But she has other reasons for creating them: "I'm obsessed with spheres, I can't stop making them. I love the challenge of making something round out of something so straight - it seems to be a way of encapsulating everything, of achieving order from chaos."
Lizzie admits, however, that this is not an order entirely imposed by her control. Her random weaving is partly the result of letting the materials move as they wish to. "I feel sorry for the wood in a way, because when you make traditional pieces you have to twist and force it into regular patterns. I prefer to let it express itself."
The materials are collected for Lizzie by local gardeners. She relishes the process of getting to know each different wood and how best to work with it. Larch, for example, is much harder to manipulate than the more commonly used willow - "there's a lot of trial and error to begin with". But the hours spent practising and experimenting are relished. Lizzie Farey literally lives and breathes her baskets: "Willow smells amazing, the scent can fill a room, it's intoxicating."