City Lit Blog

Annemarie O'Sullivan - From Student to Tutor and Successful Basketmaker

Story added 1st Oct 2018

Annemarie O'Sullivan in her studio - photo taken by Dominic Harris


Tell us a little bit more about yourself, what do you currently do?

My name is Annemarie O'Sullivan and I work full time as a basketmaker making a range of small scale domestic work through to large scale installations and sculptural work. I work primarily with willow which I grow near my home in East Sussex. My husband works full time with me; his work is primarily around preparing the willow and steam bending wood.

What courses did you do at City Lit? 

I came to City Lit one day a week for 5 years in 2006. I took the part 1 and part 2 creative basketry courses. These were both two year courses. I also spent a year as a workshop student.

What have you enjoyed the most about City Lit?

I came to City Lit shortly after I had my second child. I had no free time and money was very tight. It seemed like a ridiculously indulgent thing to start a course but I had been quietly obsessing about baskets for a couple of years and couldn’t find anyone to learn from near where I lived. 

Coming to City Lit was life changing. It opened up a world of materials, skills, techniques and a community that I couldn’t have accessed anywhere else in Britain. It is the sweetie shop for basketmakers. The course has been running for years and nowhere else in the country can you find such a rich mix of basketry courses - willow, coiling, cane, plaiting rush, knotting and netting to name but a few.

What’s the best thing about learning at City Lit? 

I think the range of people and inclusivity really stands out. I love the sense of diversity and interaction between lots of different types of people. 

What are you currently working on, exciting projects/courses?

I’m in the midst of a new series of works which are based on traditional agricultural frame baskets. My husband and I took time out a couple of years ago researching frame baskets around Britain and Ireland. Now I've finally managed to work out how to bring this new strand into my practice. 

I'm also teaching a willow basketry masterclass at City Lit starting in March 2019. 


Find out more about City Lit's basketry courses...

We offer a number of courses in basket making, ranging from long to short courses specialising in willow or rush and other, less traditional materials and techniques, such as random weave. There are courses for both beginners and those with some experience. Find out more...