Playing with passementerie

Passementerie is the art of making braids, fringes, tassels and edgings for cloth or furnishings: think of those heavily fringed lampshades and swanky tasselled tie-backs around curtains in stately homes. On Heritage Craft’s Red List it’s an endangered craft, which means there are serious concerns about its ongoing viability. It’s not really my style interiors-wise, […]

Elements 4: Earth

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally finished the final element of the four: Earth. To be honest, I found this the trickiest one to conceptualise. My first idea was of a snow-capped volcano (think Mount Fuji), but that didn’t seem very challenging in terms of coiling structure, though I could have added folds and […]

Off-loom weaving

Back in 2018 Tate Modern put on a wonderful exhibition about Anni Albers (you can see a write-up on my previous blog here). It stirred in me a vague interest in weaving, though I was still more interested in exploring 3D form. Also I was a bit put off by the apparent complexity of warping […]

Wanaga tukutuku

A tukutuku is a latticework panel used to decorate Maori meeting houses, and on Sunday I spent a fascinating day at a wanaga (workshop) learning how to make one at the UCL Department of Anthropology. The workshop was organised by Te Maru o Hinemihi and sponsored by the British Council. The tutors, Jim and Cathy […]

Brush making workshop with Rosa Harradine

I have to admit that I am not the most houseproud person in the world (Ever Supportive Partner can provide plenty of evidence for this). It may therefore seem ironic to profess admiration for the handmade brushes of Rosa Harradine. I guess it’s possible to lust after something as an object while completely ignoring its […]

Elements 3: Fire

Of the elements I’ve made so far, Fire has had the most conventional start – a circular bowl starting from the centre. When I felt that the base was big enough I started creating protrusions that would become the flames. I wanted there to be further spaces in each flame on each round, so the […]

Polish coiled straw basket workshop

A couple of weeks ago I went on a one-day workshop with Anna Niedzielska, a visiting Polish basketmaker. The workshop was organised by Halina Ward, a current student on the two-year City Lit basketry course who is half Polish and also acted as (excellent) interpreter for the day. Anna teaches both willow and straw basketry […]

Weaving with Scoby

One of the best things about teaching is meeting a wide variety of people who have a wide variety of reasons for wanting to learn basketry skills. One of my students, Lucy, has attended three courses so far, and is working towards a doctorate at the Slade School of Fine Art at UCL. Her focus […]

Elements 2: Air

After the easy flow of Water, Air was always going to be more challenging. After all, it’s invisible most of the time, which makes it a bit tricky to visualise! My first thought was of isobars – those lines you see on weather maps connecting points of equal air pressure (like contour lines connect points […]

Elements 1: Water

This didn’t start out as a series. I just wanted to refire my making mojo after six weeks of lacking the energy even to read or watch TV, let alone make anything. I’d been looking at some of the wonderful Japanese wave and ripple designs published by the Public Domain Review. So I picked a […]