Willow basketmaking with Stephen Caulfield

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work

Ref: S2D11920

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About this course

Learn the special qualities of willow as you use traditional techniques to weave a round shopping basket. Being given the choice of naturally different coloured willows to use and incorporate within your work.

Course Description

Learn to use renewable resources by weaving with willow - a naturally sustainable material which has strength, beauty and longevity. This traditional design is even more relevant in today’s environmentally conscious times. These lightweight carrying baskets can be used instead of plastic bags when shopping on the high street, in the supermarket, or at farmers’ markets, in addition to being useful in the garden.

You will gain or improve your willow basketmaking skills, producing a traditional useable basket of average size. You will also learn the history of this traditional material, details of its growth, harvesting and preparation, and be able to continue weaving at home. Willow available will be both peeled, boiled buff and brown, with barks of beautiful colours (if available). Techniques include how to make a split flat round base and a variety of the most useful weaves, as appropriate, plus how to produce handles. You will work on individual projects, following a discussion with the tutor.

There will be demonstrations, viewing of completed objects and samples, and opportunities for group discussions as well as individually with your tutor.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • Willow supplied on the course to make one basket is included in the course fee

What students need to bring

  • Tools may be borrowed from the tutor, but please bring as many of the following as you have available (but do not buy anything especially before you come):
  • For willow basketmaking:
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler – at least 1ft long
  • 2–3 spring clothes pegs
  • Masking tape
  • Pair of sharp secateurs (preferably ‘parrot-beak’ shape), and a good penknife
  • Small hammer or rapping iron
  • Basketmakers’ bodkin (at least 5") – can be borrowed from the tutor
  • A couple of large old towels
  • An apron
  • Sturdy covered footwear in the workshop – this is an essential health and safety requirement.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Masking tape
  • Basketmakers’ bodkins
  • Notebook and pencil


Stephen Caulfield

Stephen Caulfield is a professional basketmaker with over 33 years experience. He trained at Wilwood Products in 1985 as an apprentice in Brighton and after two years he started on piecework. He has supplied Harrods, Movies and TV channels, The London Palladium, and Glyndebourne Opera. Commissions include 28 hampers for all the NATO leaders. He is a member of The Basketmakers' Association.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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