I’m delighted to announce that I am one of two students who received the Christiane Sand Award for Coiling from City Lit.
Christiane Sand first enrolled on the City Lit Creative Basketry course in September 2011. After completing it she was diagnosed with cancer and re-enrolled in 2015 as a therapeutic pursuit alongside her cancer treatments. For her coiling project she made a wolf basket, which she found challenging but ultimately rewarding. This is what led her husband Nigel Grant to set up two awards for students who produce outstanding work in the coiling module.
I actually made this piece over a year ago. It was during the first lockdown in April 2020, and we had just started the coiling module at City Lit when everything closed down. However, our tutor Polly Pollock continued to have regular weekly Zoom meetings with the group, giving us advice and feedback on our coiling projects.
For the project we had to make a finished piece of coiled basketry based on the theme of animal markings, involving visual and contextual research in our sketchbooks and extensive sampling. My piece was inspired by the radiated tortoise, a critically endangered species from Madagascar.
Although I was initially attracted by the structure and pattern of the shell, I also ended up making a base with a representation of a tortoise, which is revealed only when the shell is removed. It seemed a rather appropriate project to work on during lockdown, when we were all retreating into our protective shells.
Fast forward to April 2021, when our college classes resumed in person. We were all asked to bring in our coiled pieces and sketchbooks for assessment. A few weeks later, I heard that my piece had won one of the awards – £250 to be spent on a basketry course. That should continue feeding my habit!