The basketry project: investigate, explore, make - open weave structures
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
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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 alongside making some interesting work using basketry techniques - this could be a finished basketry piece, or a collection samples which can be used as a springboard for further independent exploration and to inform future work.
What will we cover?
This year the main focus will be on exploring open weave structures. Across the world there are many examples of open weave baskets and basketry structures. These are worked in a vast range of materials and techniques. This course will look at several approaches to looking at open weave basketry all of which are all closely related to plaited basketry techniques, for example : checkweave, hexagonal plaiting, pinwheel plaiting. These techniques will be explored using both traditional materials as well as more experimental contemporary materials - allowing for observation and understanding of how different materials affect outcomes.
Open weave baskets and basketry produces a light airy structures and baskets, which in spite of their open weave structure nevertheless produce work which can be remarkably strong. This way of working can be used to explore structure and form, surface and pattern; can be worked on a small or large scale; and can be used to make formal baskets as well as more abstract sculptural forms.
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. The 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 Open Weave 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
- Extend your knowledge of basketry generally, while investigating the possibilities of these techniques in relation to
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
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?
In some sessions we will be dyeing and painting materials so you will need to wear old clothes and shoes and to bring in an apron. You will be advised in advance of when these session will be.
Basic materials and equipment are provided. Small quantities of additional/alternative materials may be available to buy from the Tutor. You will need a sketchbook - for Week 2 - this will be discussed in Week 1.
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.
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.
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.