Introduction to basketry
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Course Code: VC170
Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course will introduce four of the major basketry techniques traditionally used around the world, as well as by
contemporary basket makers in the UK, US, Scandinavia and elsewhere.
Basketry is a new world with a multitude of strands to explore and study in its own right. In addition, it has
relevant links to many other art/craft/academic disciplines like textiles, jewellery, sculpture, ethnography
and conservation, to name a few.
For complete beginners the course will provide an introduction to four of the most commonly used the basket
making techniques used worldwide : Coiling, Twining, Stake & Strand, and Plaiting.
For students with a little previous experience of some of these techniques, this is a great opportunity to consolidate
and develop existing basic skills.
Have a wider appreciation of basketry as a subject and its potential for further exploration and study.
What will we cover?
During the first part of this course emphasis will be on practical sessions providing an introduction, or revision of
Coiling, Twining, Stake & Strand and Plaiting. You will work with a range of materials including :
Cane and dyed Cane, Raffia, Wools and Threads, Jute/Sisal/Hemp Twines and Yarns, Papers and Thin Card.
PLEASE NOTE THAT WILLOW AND RUSH WILL NOT BE USED ON THIS COURSE, BUT THERE WILL BE COURSES LOOKING AT THESE MATERIALS DURING THE 20/21 YEAR
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.
Each week the tutor will have a selection of inspirational material for you to observe : baskets, books, slides, postcards,
sketchbooks, samples etc.) to illustrate the potential and versatility of each technique in terms of form, function and use
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...
Beginners : Make basic level baskets with confidence in each of the following techniques :
Coiling, Twining, Stake & Strand, and Plaiting.
In addition to the above students with a little previous experience :
Make intermediate level baskets which build on and extend existing knowledge in these areas of basketry,
including learning further techniques and working in new materials..
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 numbers
and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.
PLEASE NOTE YOU WILL BE WORKING WITH YOUR HANDS, SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THIS COURSE MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR STUDENTS WITH SEVERE ARTHRITIS OR RSI.
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 short slide shows illustrating work by makers working with a variety of materials and a
range of scales to put these Basketry techniques into a worldwide context within both Traditional and Contemporary
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
PLEASE NOTE THAT IN SOME SESSIONS YOU MAY BE WORKING WITH DYES AND PAINTS SO YOU WILL NEED TO BRING AN APRON/WEAR OLD CLOTHES AND SHOES. YOU WILL BE ADVISED IN ADVANCE WHICH SESSIONS YOU WILL NEED TO COME PREPARED FOR THIS.
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?
There will be more Basketry courses during 2020-21 of varying lengths and which will appeal to a wide range of
Polly has over 35 years experience teaching in many different settings : schools, colleges, museums, galleries and in the community. She taught on the original C&G Basketry Courses at London College of Furniture, moving with these courses to City Lit where she’s been teaching for 25 years. Polly has her own basketry practice working from her studio at Kingsgate Workshops in Kilburn and has exhibited widely. Polly came to Basketry via an interest in Textiles which influences her personal practice through her choice of materials and techniques (she’s a member of the Textile Study Group). Polly’s approach, while rooted in traditional techniques found worldwide, takes a contemporary approach to Basketry allowing students to acquire a sound skills base from which to explore Basketry. Polly’s courses at City Lit range from introducing basic skills, to longer courses offering opportunities to delve into a technique in more depth, experimenting with possibilities and potential outcomes. Polly also teaches on the Advanced Textiles course. www.pollypollock.co.uk @pollypollockbaskets @pollypollockbasketryteaching
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.