Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work

Textile basketry – exploring twined pod forms with Mary Crabb

Ref: SWE09256


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About this course

Create woven pod forms while weaving textile-based basketry, inspired by gourds and seedpods. Using a threads of various thicknesses, the pods can be woven in a range of sizes and with texture, colour and pattern.

Course Description

Taking inspiration from the garden, in particular gourds and beans, this course will focus on the weaving of small three-dimensional pod forms.

The course will concentrate on the technique of twining, making a connection with both basketry and textiles. Twining requires the weaving of an active element around a passive warp. The weaving is worked in the hands with the use of a few simple tools. Basics of joining in new threads, changing colours and adding warps will be covered. You will be taught how to weave a doubled layered twined base which will create a decorative foundation for the start of the pod.

Starting with the same pod design, to learn the basics of the technique, you will then have the opportunity to explore a range of different materials. Scale will be considered - working with flexible materials from string to rope, threads to twine. The pods could be colourful and incorporate patterns and textures, by mixing different threads. A selection of gourds and beans, from the garden, will be displayed in the studio for reference and to provide inspiration for forms, colours and textures.

Mary will demonstrate techniques, provide visual notes and offer individual support to enable you to create your own decorative woven pod forms.

By the end of the course you should be confident with the technique of twining, the use of twining to create a three-dimensional pod and be able to adapt the technique to work with a range of materials.


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, 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


  • The course fee includes the cost of materials supplied by the tutor and shared amongst the group, these include a selection of thread, wools, string, paper yarns, twine and cords, in a selection of colours and textures.
  • Tools will be available on loan from Mary, if required

What students need to bring

  • Please bring along any images from the garden of any pods and bean that you have been inspired by. Images of forms, colours textures that you might like to weave
  • A notebook or sketch book for recording any additional information
  • Reading glasses are advisable if you need them for close up work
  • Scissors, a pair suitable for cutting string and twine, and a finer pair for threads, if you have them
  • Please wear covered shoes in the workshop

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of needles.
  • String - office string and upholstery twine
  • Garden twine - some may be available in the West Dean Gardens shop
  • Available from tutor:
  • Rope if you would like to work larger (no thicker than sash cord)
  • Large eyed needles, metal and plastic

Please note: Asthma and hay fever suffers are recommended to bring their medication as very occasionally the fibres from some strings may bring on symptoms.

Student review

"Organised and generous tutor who was very patient, knowledgable and helpful. Relaxed pace of course with finished items to take home!"

Helen, 2019


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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