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 […]

When Forms Come Alive at the Hayward Gallery

“Sixty years of restless sculpture…inspired by movement, flux and organic growth”. Sounds right up my street you say? You bet! I loved this exhibition currently on at the Hayward Gallery. Growth implies movement, which happens quite literally in the first room of the exhibition, as silk-clad lights rise and fall, open and close above your […]

Pine needle baskets in Guatemala

Well, my last post turned out to be a little optimistic! After my bout of flu before Christmas I went down with another respiratory infection (possibly Covid, given how long it took to recover), followed by a urinary tract infection. But finally, after six weeks or so, I feel more like my normal self and […]

Merry Christmas 2023

I returned from my travels around Mexico and Guatemala on 8 December, brimming with energy and ready to tackle the pre-Christmas build-up. Then I got hit by a nasty bout of flu. I don’t think it was Covid – I kept testing negative – but it was serious enough to keep me in bed for […]