Sculptural textile basketry – freeform wrapping and coiling with Mary Crabb

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work Constructed and woven textiles

Ref: S4D12024

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About this course

Scuptural basketry will focus on the techniques of coiling and wrapping, with a theme of 'making lines'. The three-dimensional off loom work of Tadek Beutlich will be a source of inspiration.

Course Description

Sculptural basketry will focus on using a range of materials to make lines.

The course will begin with the learning of wrapping and coiling techniques with exercises to create simple line shapes and forms. Lines will be explored by making simple drawings and models, with the main inspiration being found in the three-dimensional off-loom work of Tadek Beutlich. You will be encouraged to sample and develop ideas which work towards the making of your own structured sculptural piece towards the end of the course.

Considering the part that wrapping and coiling plays in the making of a three-dimensional basket, you will explore the basic principle to work freeform. Wrapping and coiling of a core material is worked in the hands with the use of a few simple tools. The use of core materials will be sampled; textile, raffia and paper, to enable decisions to be made about the quality of a desired line and variations in thickness. The techniques will be introduced and developed during the course. Basics of joining in new threads, changing thread, making connections with the core, tensioning and finishing will all be covered.

With access to some of Beutlich’s wrapped samples, ideas will be explored about how pieces can be made which include movement, linkages and modules. Consideration will be given to Beutlich’s use of wrapping materials; with a particular focus on bright coloured wools, so colour and working in wool will be encouraged!

The tutor will demonstrate techniques, provide visual notes and offer individual support to enable you to create your own unique piece of sculptural basketry. A course suitable for all with no experience of wrapping and coiling necessary, with opportunities to explore and experiment.

Please note, work is all made in the hands and can be tiring on the hands, neck and shoulders so please consider this before booking.


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


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the materials including
  • Core materials; braided cotton rope, string, raffia, recycled fabric strips, newspaper/paper
  • Wrapping materials: Wool, threads, string, raffia, recycled fabric strips
  • Paper and pencils for drawing and modelling.
  • Tools will be available for loan.
  • Tapestry needle and plastic needles supplied.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook or sketchbook for recording any additional information.
  • A camera may be useful for recording the stages of working.
  • Please bring reading glasses if required for close work.
  • A few simple drawing materials and sketchbook if you have your own would prefer to use.
  • Scissors, a pair suitable for cutting string/rope and a finer pair for threads, available for loan if required.
  • Any images of lines would be useful for ideas and inspiration. Also images of linked or modular structures.
  • You are welcome to bring small quantities of your own threads/wools/fabrics, etc. to incorporate into your work. No finer than double knitting wool, unless intending to work very small.
  • An apron and covered footwear
Asthma and hay fever suffers are recommended to bring their medication as occasionally the fibres from wool and some strings may bring on symptoms. Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Mary Crabb

Mary Crabb is an award-winning contemporary basketmaker. Having originally worked in willow, Mary now works with fine flexible materials, both natural and man-made, to create small, detailed and decorative woven forms exploring the connection between basketry and textiles.


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

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