Introduction to basketry

Course Dates: 15/10/21 - 17/12/21
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Learn exciting techniques used for making baskets around the world. Use a variety of materials, from the traditional to those which give a more contemporary feel to this ancient craft.
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
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Full fee £549.00 Senior fee £439.00 Concession £335.00

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Course Code: VC170

Full Fri, day, 15 Oct - 17 Dec '21

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

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What is the course about?

This course will introduce four of the major basketry techniques traditionally used around the world.
Basketry is a fascinating craft with a multitude of strands to explore and study in its own right. In addition, it has relevant links to other arts, crafts like textiles, jewellery, sculpture and academic disciplines such as ethnography, botany and geography.

For complete beginners the course will provide an introduction to four of the most commonly used basket making techniques used worldwide: Twining, Coiling, Stake & Strand and Plaiting.
For students with a little previous experience in some of these techniques, this is a great opportunity to consolidate and develop existing basic skills and gain a wider appreciation of basketry as a subject.

What will we cover?

The main emphasis of the course will be on practical sessions providing an introduction, or revision of Twining, Coiling, Stake & Strand and Plaiting.
You will work with a range traditional and non-traditional materials such as willow and rush cane, raffia, jute, sisal wool and other threads and yarns, papers and card.
All techniques will be supported by additional information putting the techniques into a wider context in relation to use by traditional and contemporary makers in the UK and the wider world.
The second part of the course will allow students to complete work started and explore one or two the techniques in a little more detail.
The tutor will have a selection of inspirational material for you to observe: baskets, books, images, samples illustrate the potential and versatility of each technique in terms of form, function and use of materials.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Beginners: Make basic level baskets with confidence in each of the following techniques;Twining, Coiling, Stake & Strand and Plaiting.
Students with a little previous experience :
-Make intermediate level baskets which build on and extend existing knowledge in these areas of basketry.
-You will be given book lists, supplier information, and details of museum collections.

All students:
-Select and prepare suitable materials for working in these techniques.
-Make more informed decisions about which technique/materials to choose when enrolling on one of the other short basketry courses at the City Lit.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Complete Beginners and Intermediate students who want to revise, refresh and build on existing basic skills.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for health and safety information, and be able to take part in group discussions. You should be able to use number and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught using a mix of demonstrations together with verbal explanations by the tutor and handouts to support this. You will also have opportunities to observe and handle samples and examples of work. There will be short slide shows illustrating work by makers working with a variety of materials and a range of scales to put techniques into a worldwide context within both Traditional and Contemporary Basketry.

Handouts and course information can also be accessed via our Google classroom eLearning portal. Details on how you can login will be sent to you prior to the start date.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?


Basic materials and tools are provided. Small quantities of additional/alternative materials may be available to buy from the Tutor.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit has a selection of Basketry and Contemporary Craft courses for beginners to advanced learners and professional practitioners. Please browse the website to view our upcoming courses.
Was this information useful? If not, please let us know how it could be improved by emailing

John Page

John was introduced to basketry by a Crafts Council exhibition in 1999, where he was impressed enough to undertake a four-year City & Guilds course in creative basketry at the City Lit. This has transmogrified into the two-year VA190 course John now runs and teaches on. John's specialty is rushwork but he is comfortable with other materials and techniques and encourages experimental work following sound and basic groundwork. John believes that craft work is an essential human occupation. When not teaching basketry John repairs harps.

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.