Rush at Warwick University

Clutch baskets woven in Cambridgeshire rush with willow bark details

On 5th-7th July 2019 I will be teaching at Warwick University alongside three other fabulous Rush specialists- John Page, Rosie Farey and Brigitte Graham. the weekend has been organised by Clair Murphy and Ruth Salter both of whom are Basketmakers with a passion for Rush; the former compiling and editing a recently published book “Rush Basketry: Weaving with Eight Makers”. Copies of which can be purchased via the Basketmakers Association and Amazon.

The focus of my course will be creating pattern and texture through twining techniques to create small clutch baskets. We will look at shaping using moulds and stitch tension as well as closures, lids and fastenings. To add to their texture students will be encouraged to add details of fine willow bark and various natural threads. We will also play with plaits to form brooches using a variety of knots that will be stitched to brooch pins with fine hemp.

I cannot wait to spend the weekend immersed in all things of a rush weaving nature and if you are interested please email rushatwarwick@gmail.com for details.

Rush Tote in a Day

026Last Autumn a really enthusiastic lovely lady came to weave Cambridgeshire Rushes for the day with the aim of firming up basketry techniques she had learned a few years ago.

It was a long hot day with the morning spent weaving a round place mat with a twill centre and chain paired weave with a rolled then threaded away border. The afternoon was spent on a larger 3D project; a rectangular tote with leather handles. She chose a chain paired side weave for the speed it could be executed at, and a 3 rod border for strength. All woven in recently harvested and dried rush cut not far from where we live and filling the workshop with the scent of a hay meadow.

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Here are the results of her hard days concentrating- functional and attractive and excellent projects for solidifying weaving techniques. Many more learners have attended Rush weaving workshops since then and more posts detailing their great creations will follow. If you are interested in attending a workshop to create beautiful and functional baskets then please see my workshop dates post where venues and details are listed, or contact me to discuss a private workshop for up to 3 people maximum.

Teaching, teaching and some more teaching

Burkina plait "Humbug" Shoulder bag

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Final rows of weaving with cranked willow rods

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Finished shoulder basket in Cambridgeshire Rush using the Burkina Plait Technique woven by a student

 

 

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The finished platters in various willows, birch & rush

 

It has been a very busy start to the year with lots of teaching one to one as well as  group workshops at Assington Mill in Suffolk and The Museum of Cambridge, formerly the Folk Museum. The latter venues workshop formed part of The Cambridge History Festival and 12 learners made willow platters in a variety of willows, Birch pruning’s and Cambridgeshire Rush that I harvested last Summer. No mean feet as the session was only 3 hours long but the results were fabulous with rope making and 4 strand flat plaiting of the Rushes to create stripes of contrasting colour and texture.

One of my regular students was keen to focus on the Burkina plaiting technique so I spent a day guiding her through the weaving of  a lightweight but strong shoulder basket. After taking time to select, clean and sort the Rushes into groups to be used at specific points within the basket, her  focus was on how to hold the plait correctly with the vessel created upside down. It took about 6 hours to complete with a quick lunch and I think the resulting basket was super.