Large scale asymmetric baskets with Sue Kirk

Basketmaking, chair seating and willow work

Ref: SWE12016

Book now

Places available

About this course

Spend two days weaving with a variety of coloured willows. Learn how to weave a large scale asymmetric basket measuring roughly 50cm x 50cm, inspired by Polish Basketmaker Stanislaw Dziubak. Experiment with colour to achieve a painterly finish.

Course Description

Over the two days you will learn how to create a large scale basket using fine, coloured willows which give a painterly finish to the surface of the basket.

Practise the techniques required to construct a large scale base including:

learn how use your knife to cut scalloms to tie in the slath

use a chase weave (using two sets of weavers at once) to tie in the slath and weave the base

learn how to select the correct size rods to make a strong base

practice manipulating stakes and weavers to achieve evenly spaced base stakes.

Learn how to achieve an extra long diagonal border:

learn how the use of certain numbers of side stakes effects the final look of the diagonal border

select the correct length and thickness of rod to achieve the perfect border.

Experiment with coloured willows:

choose coloured willows to achieve a variety of different effects on the surface of the basket

learn how colour blends, complements or projects itself on a surface.

Add a double or single handle to your basket:

learn how to slype a thick willow rod

experiment with adding a double handle

practice getting a smooth curve on your handle bow.

Your finished basket will be large scale, roughly 50cm x 50cm, will contain the correct number of uprights which will give a long sweeping diagonal border and a variety of coloured willows used to create a paintery finish and a single or double cross handle with no kinks. You will find working with willow more manageable if you have strength and dexterity in your hands and fingers.


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 the materials

What students need to bring

  • An apron and sturdy covered footwear in the workshop (no sandals) – this is an essential health and safety requirement.
  • All tools and materials are provided by the tutor, but you can bring your own if you prefer to use them. This includes the following:
  • Tape measure, ruler – at least 1ft long
  • 2–3 spring clothes pegs
  • Pair of sharp secateurs (preferably parrot-beak shape), a good pen knife, side or wire cutters
  • Small hammer or rapping iron
  • A couple of large old towels

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • Materials, willow
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (not sandals).


Sue Kirk

Sue Kirk has been growing willow and weaving baskets for 20 years in King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire. She makes traditional and contemporary baskets using several varieties of home grown willow. She works to commission and creates her own designs for galleries and interior spaces. She teaches basketry at her workshop in King's Cliffe and at the City Lit. 


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.

Sign-up to be the first to know

Sign up to our Short Course enews to hear about new courses, late availability and get creative inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.