Willow basket making with Jenny Crisp

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work

Ref: S3D11811

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About this course

In this willow basketmaking course, you will learn two approaches to building square work, one using a traditional block, the other a simple dovetailed frame, both attaching stakes using the scallom technique. Complete one or two, small scale baskets.

Course Description

There are many different constructions for building square work, during this course, you will concentrate on two approaches. One will be to explore building the base in a traditional block; the second will be to use a simple dovetailed frame that can be made in your lap. Both options will give you the opportunity to attach stakes using the scallom technique.

You will use both home grown and commercially grown willow with the bark on.

The aim of this course is to thoroughly cover the processes involved in choosing the right scale of material for the job in hand and to learn how to handle that material to achieve the best results. You will discuss the choice of build and what influences these kinds of technical decisions. You will work at a pace that ensures that you will be able to return home and repeat the process independently. Depending on speed and ability, you can expect to complete one or two pieces.

Throughout the course there will be the opportunity for conversation about many other basket making processes such as growing, harvesting, soaking, tools and earning a living through basketry.


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

What students need to bring

  • If you have them:
  • Basket makers knife, secateurs, 2 bodkins, beater, weight, long-nosed pliers.
  • Basket makers bench or plank.
  • An apron and appropriate clothing for the workshop: covered footwear is essential.
  • The tutor will have spares of all the above for use if necessary.

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • Willow will be supplied by the tutor. Students will need to pay her directly for what you use during the course as advised. Also any left over willow at the end to practice at home after the course.
  • Basket makers bench
  • Bodkins and knives
  • Copies of her recent book “Willow” by Jenny Crisp
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Jenny Crisp

Jenny Crisp is a professional basket maker and willow grower with over 35 years of experience. Completing a degree in woven textiles at Farnham Art College she went on to do a one year apprenticeship in growing and making with distinguished basket maker David Drew, sponsored by the Crafts Council.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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