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

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:

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

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

many new adventures…

… waiting to be told!

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.

1st step: beating the freshly gathered rushes
Combing to remove pith
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:

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

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