Contemporary willow basketry
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
Course Code: VC184
Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)
What is the course about?
All students will start with a base that is very versatile and ripe for adaptation into a wide variety of forms. Beginners will develop round forms, and will learn to weave a base using English and Spanish techniques, put on sides and complete a border.
Handles can be added if they are appropriate. Curved baskets, other shapes, and a variety of weaves, can be used as experience grows. Those already familiar with willow can develop their skills by bringing their own images and designs, and plan work with the tutor.
What will we cover?
You will learn to build willow baskets with weaves not traditionally used in the UK, such as zig-zag weave, thick waling and others, all of which give new forms and textures and are exciting developments of the last ten years.
You will learn to make forms of your choice suitable for your level of experience, cylinders, bowls, starting with a base, staking up, adding stakes and completing borders and adding handles as needed. There is the opportunity to complete two pieces over the course.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Work with willow as a material.
Select appropriate rods and prepare them for work.
Achieve the desired form and texture, under instruction.
Demonstrate familiarity with the parts of a basket and be able to read one with increasing skill.
Demonstrate some knowledge of the basketmaking world and the current developments.
Work within health and safety guidelines.
Those with experience:
Build on your existing knowledge.
Work with some independence after discussion with the tutor.
Use interesting new weaves and ways of forming structures for either practical or sculptural forms.
Demonstrate developed sense of willow as a material, with its unique properties.
Work with increasing accuracy and neatness.
Work within the health and safety guidelines.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is for those with some experience of willow work. Come with an interest in weaving rods into stable, well made, strong structures and be willing to try new ideas and enjoy discussion of baskets and basketry. There is a magic in starting with straight rods from a plant and ending up with beautiful basketry.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for
health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use
numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is a practical course and active participation is necessary to achieve the full potential of the willow but there will
be demonstrations, hand-outs, basket examples, images and books to help you. The tutor will spend time with you all individually after starting each day with collectively teaching the skills needed for the projects in hand. Everyone will have a chance to talk about their own work and discuss the work of fellow students, to see what is possible with different skill levels and different techniques.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no extra costs as tools are available in the college and willow will be prepared for you each week. Wait until you have done some weaving first and then see if you would like to buy books or tools for future use.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
There are a variety of short courses in basketry techniques that could complement what you have learnt from the course: VC205 The Basketry project: investigate, explore, make or VC184 Contemporary willow making.
Award winning basketmaker and sculptor Debbie Hall has been teaching basketry for over twenty years, and loves passing on her passion to others. She has studied with many well-respected makers, including here at City Lit, and during her 2-year Creative Basketry course was awarded the Barbara Maynard Cup (2010) and an adult Learners Award (2011). As well as making, exhibiting and working with living willow, she runs regular basketry workshops from her home studio in Cambridgeshire and has taught for many other organisations including the Basketmakers Association and Cambridge Botanic Gardens. Though she specialises in willow and has a good grounding in traditional techniques, she has experience with a broad spectrum of materials, and is excited by experimentation. Her diverse artistic background (with a first degree in Fine Art and an MA in Illustration) has led her to explore interesting angles within her own work, and to become particularly interested in nurturing the creative potential in her students.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.