English rush basketry, an introduction with Felicity Irons

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work

Ref: S1D11392

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About this course

Glimpse the beauty, flexibility and possibilities of working with English rush as you make two small items, a table mat and small basket.

Course Description

Learn how to make mats and small baskets from English rush. Glimpse the beauty, flexibility and exciting possibilities of working with rush.

Starting with the basic techniques of making a tablemat, you will then develop those techniques to make a small basket. There will be a discussion on the harvesting, drying and preparation of the rush to gain the best from the material, alongside an introduction to the way the tutor harvests her own rush in Bedfordshire. Anticipate completing these two small pieces during the day.

Celebrating our 50th Anniversary – learn a traditional skill with a selection of courses focusing on heritage crafts and inspired by original 1970s subjects.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of the rush for the two projects offered.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring any small moulds e.g. a flower pot or biscuit tin to make a basket round if you have a particular basket shape in mind.
  • Scissors
  • Apron
  • A water spray/mist bottle
  • Small moulds or forms that you may like to make a basket around
  • Essential – please wear sturdy covered footwear in the workshop (health and safety requirement)
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Felicity Irons

Felicity's life with English bulrush began in 1992 and it has become a true passion. Rush Matters is her business name. She harvests about 2500 bolts of rush each summer for 6 weeks. Once dry she makes a range of designs from hats, bags, cushions, shoes and baskets. She is very well known for her rush floor matting, working for many interior designers, architects, the film industry and the National Trust. She work with shops in the UK and exports to the USA, France Holland, Belgium, Australia and Japan. Her teaching has taken her to Denmark and Holland.

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