The basketry project: investigate, explore, make

Course Dates: 20/04/20 - 06/07/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Polly Pollock

Learn new skills to explore and expand your existing skill set. Using coiled basketry techniques the emphasis will be on developing ideas and practice through personal research, and working with a range of materials.


What is the course about?

This basketry course is about learning new skills and/or developing, building on and exploring more deeply into existing practical basketry processes and techniques. With a different focus each year, this course is open to new and returning students.

There is a strong experimental element to this course, so come prepared to explore, play, and maybe even take a few risks, but hopefully leave having had a fun experience together with making some interesting work using basketry techniques - this could be a finished basketry piece, or a collection resolved samples.

What will we cover?

This year the main focus will be on coiling. Coiling is a stitched basketry technique which as well as being one of the most ancient basketry techniques found around the world, dating back 1000s of years; it is also used by makers working with the most contemporary approaches to basketry and constructed textiles.

This versatile and exciting technique can be used for weaving formal baskets as well as more abstract experimental forms. We will be looking at how coiling techniques can be used to create simple and more complex forms; and will work with a range of materials to understand how these affect outcomes. We will look at how different structural and stitch variations offer opportunities for exploring form together with a variety of colour and textural patterns. We will also look at approaches to completing work.

The course will offer an opportunity for you to investigate, explore and experiment with different ways of approaching
these techniques, through whole class and individual project work based around a linking theme; this theme will be
explored through visual research and keeping a sketchbook, as well as through practical sampling and making,
allowing you to develop your own individual ideas and interests. You will investigate materials and techniques to
explore how many varied outcomes can be achieved with a few basic skills.

You will work with a wide range of materials which offer plenty of potential to explore form, scale, colour, pattern,
texture with just a few essential techniques.

The final weeks of the course will provide you with the opportunity to make a finished piece of work or a
collection of samples, depending on your personal preference.

You will be given book lists, supplier information, and details of museum collections.

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

- Use and develop a range of approaches to coiled basketry techniques.
- Use an extensive (and sometimes experimental) range of materials.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the potential of these techniques.
- Research and develop your ideas in response to the initial theme, both in sketchbooks and through sampling
- Use these skills and research to plan and make a finished piece of work of your choice, or a portfolio collection of samples
- Extend your knowledge of basketry generally, while investigating the possibilities of these techniques in relation to ideas.

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

This course is aimed at both complete beginners, and students who have some previous experience of other basketry techniques who would like to add to this through extending and experimenting with existing knowledge and skills.

This course would also be of interest to students with a textile background - coiled basketry has a lot of references
to constructed textiles and stitch; or simply for students wishing to explore the potential of new materials and

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.
Please look at the rest of the course outline carefully to decide if you may benefit from support in your English and Maths skills to help you to take part fully in this class.

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 made using this
technique. There will also be a short slide shows illustrating work by makers working with a variety of materials and a range of scales to put this basketry technique into a worldwide context within contemporary basketry.

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

Basic materials and equipment are provided.
You will need a sketchbook - for Week 2 - this will be discussed in Week 1.

Small quantities of additional/alternative materials may be available to buy from the Tutor.

You may wish to supplement materials provided with some of your own, especially towards the end of the course when you will be working on your own personal projects.

A camera/phone with a camera could be very useful but is not essential.

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 *Terms and conditions apply, visit

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

City Lit offers a range of Basketry courses, of varying lengths, covering techniques such as willow, rush, plaiting and random weave, which will appeal to a wide range of interests. The City Lit Basketry course VA190 is a two year, in depth study of Basketry, next entry is in September 2019.


Customer Reviews 7 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This course, taught by an enthusiastic and expert tutor with a wide range of interesting resources, will enable you to become proficient in the technique of coiling.
Course Rating
Review by Rachel / (Posted on 17/06/2019)
I really enjoyed the course - [the tutor] is an excellent teacher - well prepared and always helpful. Encourages and inspires. Really pleased with what I learned and have loads of ideas to develop.
Course Rating
Review by Sally / (Posted on 13/07/2015)
As always, this course was well prepared and designed, [the tutor's] handouts were excellent and her structure for each course day was clear and helpful. I enjoyed the challenge of exploring bias/diagonal plaiting with untypical and difficult materials.I gained much insight and learning from spending one day solely exploring and experimenting with one off borders/finishes. Essential to this learning process was the tutor's continuous feedback.
Course Rating
Review by sandmaedchen / (Posted on 01/07/2015)
The course was fantastic I learnt so much over 9 weeks.
I found the tutor to be exceptional in her preparation and delivery .
I would recommend very highly.
Course Rating
Review by Elizabeth / (Posted on 30/06/2015)
Excellent course, inspiring tutor.
Course Rating
Review by JenHen / (Posted on 30/06/2015)
Polly is an excellent tutor who is always extremely well prepared and very inspirational, she brings out the best in her students and helps them to achieve things they wouldn't have imagined possible at the beginning of the course.
Course Rating
Review by Jan / (Posted on 30/06/2015)
I took this course in 2014 and it was excellent. The tutor is fun, generous and inspirational. It's a great course for anyone looking for more experimental and creative basketry. Review by Margaret / (Posted on 09/03/2015)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VC205

Mon, day, 20 Apr - 06 Jul '20

Duration: 10 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £499.00
Senior fee: £399.00
Concession: £304.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.