Rush weaving and basketry with Felicity Irons

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work

Ref: SLW12476

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About this course

Learn how to make hats, bags, baskets, tablemats or floor matting in English bulrush. Explore the versatility of this material, with techniques such as plaiting, knotting, stringing, pairing and stitching.

Course Description

The tutor will introduce you to the many possibilities and techniques for weaving with rush, including plaiting, knotting, pairing, stitching and more, while working with English rush. A wide variety of items can be made with this versatile material. You can anticipate going home with anything from a table mat, through to an area of floor matting, a bathmat or a wide variety of baskets, hats or bags.

Techniques that are taught include: plaiting (3-end, 5-end, 9-end and up to 29-end plaiting), used for bags, baskets, floor matting and other items; knotting, roping and drying. Sewing for baskets and floor matting is also covered, along with trimming.

Practical demonstrations and discussions by the tutor will be followed by hands-on experience making projects.


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

  • Scissors
  • Apron
  • A water spray/mist bottle
  • If you would like to make a basket to a specific shape, bring a suitable shape/mould to work around.
  • Please wear sturdy covered footwear in the workshop – an essential health and safety requirement.

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course, the tutor will supply all of the materials. This charge is unlikely to be more than £30 per student (although this is dependent on what you use) and this should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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.


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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