Sunday, 2 August 2015


For the past year or so I've been developing and teaching random weave basketry techniques.  This is an increasingly popular contemporary technique worldwide - applicable to a huge range of forms and materials and great fun to do. You don't need specialist tools or previous basketry experience.

Morley College Random Weave Basketry student work 2015
Spheres are probably the most popular forms and, I think, the simplest for beginners.  The challenge is in creating a perfect sphere without using a mould - not so difficult once you know how.
Prototype 'font' basket by Stella Harding.  Making More project for Mottisfont National Trust 2014
Open forms are slightly more tricky as one has to take into account some form of border and the perennial issue of how to deal with all the loose ends.
Random weave baskets, bowls and bracelets designed and made by a collective of seven novice basket makers in collaboration with lead artist Stella Harding.
The Mottisfont Collection was designed and made for Mottisfont National Trust in 2014.  It was an Arts Council England funded collaborative project with Making Space, Havant. The collection comprised of random weave baskets, ceramic bowls and bracelets - the colours and forms inspired by the ancient intertwining waterways and pathways at Mottisfont.
Spherical basket from the Mottisfont Collection 2014, photo Tracey McCeachran
Since 2014 I've been continuing to teach the techniques to students on the Contemporary Basketry for Beginners and Improvers evening course at Morley College, Lambeth, London.
Morley College students' work
Most students pick up the basic techniques quite quickly and find the creation of flowing, intertwining lines quite mesmerising.  The range of forms and colour effects produced by dip-dyeing the centre cane and/or incorporating other materials is really exciting.  I'm looking forward to the next academic year and more opportunities to introduce a new crop of students to this and other contemporary basketry techniques.
If you are interested check out the Morley College website for evening courses and weekend workshops beginning September 2015.