Contemporary willow basketry

Course Dates: 21/02/20 - 20/03/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Sue Kirk

Experiment with unconventional willow baskets and structures, within a traditional context. This course guides you through new textures and forms using a variety of techniques from Europe and beyond.


What is the course about?

All students will start with a base that is very versatile and ripe for adaptation into a wide variety of forms. Beginners will develop round forms, and will learn to weave a base using English and Spanish techniques, put on sides and complete a border.
Handles can be added if they are appropriate. Curved baskets, other shapes, and a variety of weaves, can be used as experience grows. Those already familiar with willow can develop their skills by bringing their own images and designs, and plan work with the tutor.

What students liked most about this course run in 2015/16:

"Positive atmosphere, excellent teaching, thought provoking with new ways of working - good advice."


What will we cover?

You will learn to build willow baskets with weaves not traditionally used in the UK, such as zig-zag weave, thick waling and others, all of which give new forms and textures and are exciting developments of the last ten years.

You will learn to make forms of your choice suitable for your level of experience, cylinders, bowls, starting with a base, staking up, adding stakes and completing borders and adding handles as needed. You will complete two pieces over the course.

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

Work with willow as a material.
Select appropriate rods and prepare them for work.
Achieve the desired form and texture, under instruction.
Demonstrate familiarity with the parts of a basket and be able to read one with increasing skill.
Demonstrate some knowledge of the basketmaking world and the current developments.
Work within health and safety guidelines.

Those with experience:
Build on your existing knowledge.
Work with some independence after discussion with the tutor.
Use interesting new weaves and ways of forming structures for either practical or sculptural forms.
Demonstrate developed sense of willow as a material, with its unique properties.
Work with increasing accuracy and neatness.
Work within the health and safety guidelines.

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

The course is for those with some experience of willow work. Come with an interest in weaving rods into stable, well made, strong structures and be willing to try new ideas and enjoy discussion of baskets and basketry. There is a magic in starting with straight rods from a plant and ending up with beautiful basketry.

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.

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

This is a practical course and active participation is necessary to achieve the full potential of the willow but there will
be demonstrations, hand-outs, basket examples, images and books to help you. The tutor will spend time with you all individually after starting each day with collectively teaching the skills needed for the projects in hand. Everyone will have a chance to talk about their own work and discuss the work of fellow students, to see what is possible with different skill levels and different techniques.

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

There are no extra costs as tools are available in the college and willow will be prepared for you each week. Wait until you have done some weaving first and then see if you would like to buy books or tools for future use.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, Build 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?

There are a variety of short courses in basketry techniques at Build and also City & Guilds Part 1 and 2 in Creative Basketry which would enable you to develop your skills and interests further. Your tutor can advise you on other courses.

General information and advice on courses at Build 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


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

Write a review

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.

Insightful and inspiring
Course Rating
Review by Anna K. / (Posted on 15/04/2019)
Most certainly.
Course Rating
Review by A.C. MacDonald / (Posted on 13/04/2019)
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: VC184

Fri, day, 21 Feb - 20 Mar '20

Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)

Full fee: £279.00
Senior fee: £279.00
Concession: £170.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

Download form & post

Any questions? [email protected]
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 . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.

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