The cyntell is a traditional Welsh frame basket, an ancient form of basket. It is constructed from a thick, dried willow or hazel hoop, split and shaped wood for the ribs and woven with willow.
Cyntell frame baskets were central to country life: they would be used to carry a feed of chaff, pulped swedes and barley for the farm animals; at harvest time they were used to gather potatoes or orchard fruits; they were used as a laundry basket and some were even used as a baby's cradle - a truly versatile basket.
Les Llewellyn has been making the Cyntell basket for the last 14 years, he was taught by the late D J Davies and continues to pass the skills on by demonstrating and teaching.
About Les Llewellyn - Basketmaker
Les Llewellyn, Basketmaker • telephone: 01656 646311 • email firstname.lastname@example.org
The master, D J Davies
"I first met D.J.Davies when I started demonstrating wood working skills at St Fagans National History Museum and he soon became a good friend and mentor. He worked at St Fagans as the resident basketmaker and I was demonstrating various crafts such as carving, making love spoons and walking sticks.
Having admired his work and skills as a basketmaker over many years. myself and my good friend Marvin Morgan (who was the St Fagans miller at the time), approached D.J and asked him if he would teach us the art of making a Cyntell. He was delighted at the thought of us carrying on the craft and tradition as he thought he would be the last basketmaker in Wales making the Cyntell basket.
In the Winter of 1998 Marvin and I first went to his home in Cardiff. We arrived around Midday and we spent a few hours in his workshop where he gave us our first lesson in making the basket.
At the end of the day his wife Megan treated us to homemade cakes and tarts and we chatted for a while.
We carried on in this fashion every fortnight for the next 12 months until we had finally mastered the skills for making the Cyntell.
D.J and myself went on to become founder members of The South Wales Basketmakers and D.J. was the President of both The South Wales Basketmakers and the South Wales Stickmakers group
Both Marvin and myself have continued to promote the Cyntell, demonstrating and teaching to ensure that this craft is not lost."
Marvin and Tom hard at work