baskets on display

The Jubilee Hall in Rothbury is hosting the exhibition this weekend.

I have several baskets, as well as string samples on display, and one for sale

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haircap moss, split bramble cane, hemp string

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NBG display in Rothbury

Northumbria Basketry bring the display to Rothbury this weekend. I will be there helping out on Sunday and Monday so do call in to say hello.

I am delighted to report that I submitted two small baskets for sale at the previous venue, and both of them sold. So I am busily making more to include this weekend… pictures to follow!

northumbria basketry group

The NBG has been going for 10 years, and I have been invited to contribute to the anniversary celebration. I was involved at the very beginning, when Liz Balfour came and inspired us all and ran a course at Rothbury. Since then I have discovered string and soft materials, and the items I am preparing for display involve mainly these materials and techniques.

Here’s a taste, made of haircap moss, Polytrichum commune

The exhibition starts at the Dales Centre in County Durham, then travels to Rothbury, Beamish, Horsley and Berwick.

More details here http://www.northumbriabasketrygroup.co.uk/gallery.php?id=289

rushes are round

Grass, rushes, reeds, sedges… what’s the difference? A traditional rhyme can help distinguish and identify:

“Sedges have edges,

Rushes are round,

Grasses have knees that bend down to the ground”

After Kindrogan, Tim Johnson came to Northumberland on his way south and had a couple of days with the Northumbria Basketry Group. His account of the workshop is here: http://www.timjohnsonartist.com/blog/exploring-twined-structures-with-the-northumbrian-basketmake.html

These examples used mainly rush, with other assorted local materials.

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rush tool pouch
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rush working tools
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rush bag (graciously modelled by Black Cat)

many new adventures…

… waiting to be told!

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Serious work, string making. Photo credit: Tim Johnson

Here’s a taste of the weekend at Kindrogan with the Scottish Basketmakers’  Circle. October is a beautiful time to be in Scotland, and the trees (and red squirrels)  were in full glorious colour. Days were chilly but dry, so we were able to spend a lot of time working outdoors. I had the chance to work with Tim Johnson once again, a great opportunity to consolidate some of the things I had learnt in the summer, as well as to experiment with new skills. Here he is demonstrating how to prepare soft rush (Juncus effusus). This is a quite magical transformation, changing a stiff, pithy rush into something that resembles hair: the flowing tresses of a mermaid perhaps. What is even more exciting is that there are absolutely armfuls of this plant waiting to be gathered from the moors just across the road from home.

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1st step: beating the freshly gathered rushes
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Combing to remove pith
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Soft bundles ready for use – for string making, using in basket-ty constructions. Or for a mermaid’s headress

You can read Tim’s own account of the weekend here:

http://www.timjohnsonartist.com/blog/teaching-for-the-scottish-basketmakers-circle-kindrogan-octo.html

west dean summer school

Not long back from a summer school at West Dean in Sussex, with the inspirational Tim Johnson, artist and basket maker.You can read more about Tim and see his work on his website  http://www.timjohnsonartist.com/

The course was called ‘fibre art and basketry’ and was an opportunity to learn new techniques for making and using string. So I have now mastered the Danish ‘palm rolling’ technique, alongside Scottish twisting and a leg rolling method used in Papua New Guinea, amongst other places…

The sun shone, the gardens were in full flower, and it was a great week spent exploring new materials and techniques with a group of people all similarly entranced by making string!

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basket from combed rush using looping method
west dean house
West Dean college