Mary Crabb


Plaits and Braids for Basketry – sculptural or functional

Plaits and Braids for Basketry – sculptural or functional

Friday 2 – Thursday 8 August 2024.

West Dean College, West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex. PO18 0QZ.

This course is in week one of the 2024 West Dean Summer School. There will be additional activites and events happening as part of the week, so it’s not just a long course!

Explore the techniques of plaiting and braiding in two and three dimensions before applying skills to the making of an individual piece of basketry, sculptural or functional.

This course will be focusing on the technique of plaiting and related braiding as basketry techniques. Two plaiting techniques will be taught: check weave and hex weave. Both require the interlacing of flat strands in an ordered sequence to generate woven grids of squares or hexagons and triangles. These grids can be worked in two and three dimensions to create woven surfaces or baskets.

To begin, time will be spent learning how to work the weaves flat before looking at how corners can be inserted to change the dimension of the form. Later, we will explore how additional strands can be added and manipulated to embellish the woven surfaces. Ideas will be extended to include the weaving of decorative plaits and braids. Towards the end of the week, the tutor will work individually with you to develop designs for your own unique piece of plaited basketry, which could be sculptural or functional.

Accessible and simple materials, such as paper, will be encouraged, as well as the use of recycled tetrapaks (a strong and durable material.) For final pieces of work, the tutor will offer options to work with flat band cane and a beautiful coloured Japanese PaperBand.

Mary will demonstrate techniques, provide visual notes and offer individual support. This is a course aimed at beginners and intermediate makers. No previous experience of the techniques is necessary. There will be opportunities for supported working, exploration and experimentation.

For more information and booking, please visit the West Dean College short course website.