Formed in 1975 the Basketmakers’ Association is the UK’s leading organisation for basketry and related crafts. Our members are basketmakers, chair seaters, fibre artists, growers, collectors and others with an interest in basketry.
The Basketmakers’ Association was set up by seven members of the first City and Guilds’ two-year Creative Basketry course, who were strongly encouraged by their teacher, Barbara Maynard. Barbara was a fine craftsperson, having worked with several crafts before coming to basketmaking and driving it forward by setting up the course, with encouragement from the Inspectors for Further Education in London. Her knowledge of technique was extensive, and she had spent considerable time and effort to make contact with professional basketmakers. At the time these were working in the traditional way after following six or seven year apprenticeships.
Word went out and a group of 24 teachers and students met at the London College of Furniture in Whitechapel to discuss the founding and workings of a group to allow them to keep in touch, exchange information for the sourcing and production of tools, collect details of relevant books and list classes around the country. They were also very keen to extend the availability of classes, with progression to a Basketmaking Diploma, as old-style apprenticeships were very rare. There was also a problem of large numbers of cheap imported baskets being readily available.
At this meeting a committee was set up, officers appointed, plans were made for a regular newsletter, it was agreed that membership would be open to anyone interested and membership fees were discussed. A constitution was also agreed. All aspects of basketmaking, chair seating and ancillary crafts were to be included. Exhibitions would be organised to spread knowledge of all these crafts outside the Association.
This was the start of what we have now, a thriving and knowledgeable Association which has developed and increased the aspects of our crafts. In 2012 the Association became a Company Limited by Guarantee.