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Adventures in Experimental Coiled Basketry

By Studio North - Leah Higgins https://www.leahhiggins.co.uk/workshops
Eccles, Manchester, UK

Workshop outline

Coiled basketry is one of basketry’s most versatile techniques offering a multitude of possibilities for making formal baskets right through to abstract sculptural forms. Coiling is different from other basketry techniques in that it is a stitched technique (as opposed to woven), and has many references to constructed textiles.

In a nutshell, coiled basketry is made by a ‘core’ element being wrapped and stitched with another material, which joins the coils (rows) together as they spiral outwards and upwards from a central point, to make an enclosed basket, a wider open basket, a mat, or more experimental form.  There are many options to explore – including flatter two-dimensional shapes, right through to complex three-dimensional forms.

Traditionally plant materials are used for coiled basketry – often being determined by what is available to the maker – quite a lot of common plant materials can be used.  Many contemporary basketmakers have introduced new materials into their work, such as yarns, threads, wires, plastics, papers and so on, sometimes using these alongside traditional plant materials.  Often these less conventional materials are being recycled or repurposed in some way bringing an awareness of reducing unnecessary waste.  In fact there are very few materials which can’t be used for coiled basketry!

In addition to the differences materials can make, working different stitches, variations of stitches, and combinations of stitches further expands possibilities for exploring texture alongside shape and form.

In order to give a focus to your explorations during the course, we will be looking at the theme of “Seed Pods” which have wonderful organic forms, structures and textures, and will provide interesting jumping-off points for this 4-day course. You’ll be shown several ways of starting, which you use will depend on what materials you choose to work with.  You will then be free to choose how to take your work forwards, with plenty of guidance to help you decide how you want to progress be that with a more formal basket, or more experimental abstract form – the choice will be yours.

You will be able to choose to make a collection of samples to take you forwards following the course, or to focus on making a specific piece of work, or small group.

With a maximum of 6 students you’ll get lots of one to one support from Polly. The workshops will run from 10am to 4pm each day with the studio opening at 9.30am and closing at 4.30pm. A materials fee (maximum £30) will be payable to Polly during the workshop.

The total cost for the course is £420. A deposit of £120 is payable on booking. The remaining £300 will be payable 6 weeks before the course start date. The cost includes hot and cold drinks and biscuits. You will need to provide your own lunch but there is a fridge and microwave in the studio.

Cancellation policy: This workshop will only run if 5 or more people enrol. If there is a shortfall you will receive a full refund. And you will, of course, receive a full refund if I cancel the course. However please be aware that your deposit will not be refunded if you cancel more than 6 weeks before the workshop unless your place can be filled. If you cancel less than 6 weeks before the workshop you will be liable for the full fee unless your place can be filled.