Coiled Basketry Workshop

Friday 23 February & Saturday 24 February, 10.00 - 16.30 (2-day workshop)

Coiled basket mats and making materials

Tickets: £160 (Members £128) Includes materials, lunches & refreshments

Book your ticket here

Coiled basketry is found throughout the world and there are many examples of coiled basketry in the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Most basketry techniques have evolved in relation to the materials readily available to the maker - traditionally these were plant materials.

One particular material, palm, is used widely in many forms (leaves, stems, etc) in basketry. In this 2-day workshop you will work with raffia. Raffia is the leaf of the Raffia palm, which grows mainly in Madagascar. It is also a form of palm material which is easily available in the UK; raffia can be bought in a range of colours and takes dye well for home dyeing.

In the workshop you will make a small basket or mat, or maybe a more abstract sculptural piece. Coiling is a slow and meditative way of working - slow basketry! It is a technique which doesn't need a lot of preparation, can be worked small, so is easy to pick-up/put-down, work on a train journey, while watching TV, listening to the radio or while chatting with friends.

Coiling is different to other basketry techniques, in that it is stitched as opposed to woven. Baskets are made by wrapping and stitching around a bundle of core materials, which spirals outwards and upwards from a central point to create a basket or mat.

In the workshop you will learn how to start a coiled basket, how to make several stitches which produce different textures, how to change colour, how to shape your work, and ways of finishing off. The basics are very simple to learn. You will also learn how to work a simple colour pattern on your basket or mat, which will enable you to develop other ideas.

During the 2-day workshop you will have the opportunity to look at coiled basketry on display in the Pitt Rivers Museum. The workshop will take place behind the scenes in the Conservation Laboratory, where you will be able to see more examples from their reserve collection and Polly will also bring more examples from her personal collection.

All materials and equipment will be provided.

Polly Pollock

Polly Pollock has been making and teaching basketry for many years - some of her early teaching days were at the Pitt Rivers Museum and she was a tutor at the first ever Oxford Summer School and for many years after that. She has exhibited her work widely throughout the UK and has been a tutor at the City Lit in London, where she still teaches on their unique 2-year part-time basketry course.

Polly's personal work combines basketry and stitched textile techniques, exploring themes of homemaking and nurture, damage, protection and repair. She works a lot with paper yarns, which she dyes using gentle eco-dyes to give soft and gentle colour palettes. Polly tries to ensure her work, albeit in small ways, avoids contributing to the mounting levels of waste in the world today.

Polly is a member of the Basketmakers' Association, Oxfordshire Basketmakers and the Textile Study Group. She currently has work in the Textile Study Group's exhibition Making 50.