What is the course about?
This is an introduction to the making of rush baskets. Rush is one of the traditional materials used for basketry in the UK. It is soft, and so easier to work than willow or cane. You will be shown enough techniques for you to transform rush and similar materials into simple, traditional baskets. You will develop practical skills in working with rush and, if you would like, other materials, and have the opportunity to explore the properties of rush.
What students liked most about this course run in 2015/16:
"Loved working with the material and creating a number of different baskets. There were lots of great examples of vessels to be inspired by as well as some great materials in terms of books."
What will we cover?
The course will allow each student to complete a small number of rush baskets and to be introduced to techniques such as plaiting, twining and making simple borders, as well as handles and lids. The techniques covered are transferable to other basketry materials. You will also be directed to relevant collections, libraries and publications to support your understanding of processes and potential outcomes.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Appreciate some of the properties and possible uses of rush
- Use techniques of plaiting and twining, and produce simple borders
- Produce a number of rush baskets.
More experienced students:
- Refresh and extend your skills
- Work on independently directed rush projects
- Demonstrate use of experimental approaches to rush basketry.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
As with any other craft, basketry demands some manual dexterity.
Suitable for beginners as well as those with experience wishing to refresh or expand their skills.
Beginners will start by learning to make a number of simple baskets using plaiting and twining techniques, with thread-away or trac borders. Handles and lids will also be looked at.
People with experience will be given the chance to refresh their knowledge, work on their own projects and, if wanted, try out more experimental work, maybe using Rush with other materials.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs, and 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?
By demonstrations, practical work, hand outs, looking at finished baskets and fellow students' work. Individual and group tuition. You will be encouraged to continue at home during the week.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Basic materials are provided. Please bring a book for note-taking. If you have one, a camera might be useful for recording progress, samples & other students’ work.
If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at www.cassart.co.uk. *Terms and conditions apply, visit www.cassart.co.uk/students.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a range of Basketry short courses covering techniques such as willow, plaiting and random weave. The Basketry project VC205 is a project led course, where you can explore different approaches to twined basketry. The City Lit Basketry course VA190 is a two year, in depth study of Basketry, next entry is in September 2019.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details