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STRAW-WORK OR LIP WORK

Lip-work baskets

Lip work is a technique where wheat straw is made into coils or ropes and then bound into shape with strips of bramble. In addition to tall backed chairs which protected the occupant from draughts, beehives, corn measures, baskets and trays were made. The technique was continued until relatively recently in Cardiganshire, notably by Mr Ben Evans, Brynllys, Bwlchllan.

A bundle of straw is bound with a strip split from a bramble. The bundle is first passed through a horn tube; its thickness is kept uniform by adding more straw as it becomes slack in the horn. The bundle is coiled round and the bramble binding the second coil is laced through that of the previous coil with the aid of a pointed bone from a horse's leg. In this way a basket is built up; chairs were also made, with much more work. The materials are shown above and an example of the work below.

Lip-work chair

Jenkins, J Geraint, A Cardiganshire Lip-worker, Folk Life, 3, (1965), pp. 88-89

lip work tools

LIP-WORK ARM CHAIR

STRAW

Needle used in lip work

CRAFTS

STRAW ROPE