Inspired by Haeckel: coral

In the first year of our City Lit basketry course we had a module on working with cane (rattan), where we had to make a cane platter inspired by a landscape feature. Mine was inspired by mountain ridges and valleys. I later went on to make another one in just two colours, to emphasise the […]

Inspired by Haeckel: calcareous sponges

With less than six weeks until our exhibition at City Lit opens, I’m feeling the pressure a bit, as I still haven’t finished any of my four remaining pieces. As I mentioned in a previous post, these pieces are all inspired by Haeckel. The one I’ve made most progress on is a shallow twined dish […]

Contemporary bamboo: masters from Japan at the Eskenazi

I have always associated the Eskenazi Gallery in London’s Mayfair with Chinese antiques, so it was a bit of a surprise when I learned that it was holding an exhibition of Japanese contemporary bamboo art. Eight outstanding Japanese bamboo artists are represented here: Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, Honda Shoryu, Ueno Masao, Honma Kazuaki, Morigami Jin, Yonezawa […]

Basketmakers in Sicily

A couple of weeks ago we had a short break in Sicily. As usual, before I travelled I looked to see if there were any local basketmakers or products. And as usual I read that basketmaking in Sicily is something of a dying art. So it was a bit of a surprise to run into […]

Triaxial weaving and mad weave

basket containing triaxial balls

For the past couple of weeks at City Lit we have been working on triaxial weaving. Unlike conventional weaving, which uses two axes at right angles to each other (warp and weft), this uses three axes, at 60º to each other – hence the name triaxial. It is also known as hexagonal weaving, but as […]

Rebound: hanging the bindweed

I managed to finish weaving the last of the 50 bindweed pods a couple of weeks ago. Then I had to start thinking about how to suspend them. My original idea was to use a metal grid, which would be robust enough not to bend. But my friend Magdalen suggested that it would be better […]

Bubblewrap basket

A couple of weeks ago we started back at City Lit on the second year of the Creative Basketry course. It was great to be back in the classroom with my fellow students again. We spent the first two sessions developing visual designs and processing materials. In the first week we played with newspaper, seeing […]

Bread baskets, and much else, at MERL

Last Saturday I spent a very pleasant afternoon at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in Reading. The occasion was a commons feast, to launch the project The Commons: Re-enchanting the World. The commons is a social system that cares for and preserves resources that we all share: land, air, and water. This project […]

Tony Cragg at Houghton Hall

Last week we spent a few days in Norfolk. An unwelcome encounter between a pothole and our front left tyre meant our itinerary was more rushed than we would have liked. But we did get to visit Houghton Hall, which is currently hosting a Tony Cragg exhibition. Only a couple of the rooms in the […]