Coiled Basketry Workshop

Polly Pollock
Event date
23 Feb 2024 to 24 Feb 2024
Event time
10:00 - 16:30
Pitt Rivers Museum
South Parks Road
Venue details

Entry via the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RW

Event type
Courses and workshops
Event cost
£160 (Members £128), includes materials, lunches & refreshments
Disabled access?
Booking required

Coiled basketry is found throughout the world and there are many examples of coiled basketry in the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Most basketry techniques have evolved in relation to the materials readily available to the maker - traditionally these were plant materials.

One particular material, palm, is used widely in many forms (leaves, stems, etc) in basketry. In this 2-day workshop you will work with raffia. Raffia is the leaf of the Raffia palm, which grows mainly in Madagascar. It is also a form of palm material which is easily available in the UK; raffia can be bought in a range of colours and takes dye well for home dyeing.

In the workshop you will make a small basket or mat, or maybe a more abstract sculptural piece. Coiling is a slow and meditative way of working - slow basketry! It is a technique which doesn't need a lot of preparation, can be worked small, so is easy to pick-up/put-down, work on a train journey, while watching TV, listening to the radio or while chatting with friends.

Coiling is different to other basketry techniques, in that it is stitched as opposed to woven. Baskets are made by wrapping and stitching around a bundle of core materials, which spirals outwards and upwards from a central point to create a basket or mat.

In the workshop you will learn how to start a coiled basket, how to make several stitches which produce different textures, how to change colour, how to shape your work, and ways of finishing off. The basics are very simple to learn. You will also learn how to work a simple colour pattern on your basket or mat, which will enable you to develop other ideas.

During the 2-day workshop you will have the opportunity to look at coiled basketry on display in the Pitt Rivers Museum. The workshop will take place behind the scenes in the Conservation Laboratory, where you will be able to see more examples from their reserve collection and Polly will also bring more examples from her personal collection.

All materials and equipment will be provided.