Courses with Visiting Tutors




Friday 20th and Saturday 21st September 10 -4.30 at The Natural Basketry Studio


Level: Improvers, intermediate and advanced. Previous twining experience essential.

Workshop Details

A two day workshop with a focus on developing techniques in the following: bases, borders, form and scale. Participants need to have mastered basic twining techniques. All workshops with guest tutors are aimed at participants who are using basketry techniques regularly in their work but you don’t need to be an expert in twining.

Day 1

The focus of the first day with be bases and borders. Through the making of a series of sample bases, the materials will be considered in terms of their suitability for the base design, scale and finished form. Borders will also be discussed and sampled, again, exploring how the a chosen material will influence the possibilities. At the end of the day students will reflect on their samples, making decisions about how they would like to proceed on Day 2 with an initial idea of a form they would like to make.

Day 2

Each student will focus on their own twined form by selecting the materials and scale they would like to work with, starting with a base of their choice. Form will be discussed and techniques taught for inserting additional warp threads, doubling up warps, opening out plies and cutting out. Simple patterns could also be woven to add interest to the design.


Originally learning to make traditional willow baskets, an introduction to textile basketry took Mary’s making in a new direction. Often starting with a technique, then hours of exploring and experimenting, she likes to work with a range of materials but especially fine flexible ones, weaving using adapted traditional basketry and textile techniques. Mary enjoys maths, which influences her making. In particular she likes problem solving and the challenges that making provides. 

A large portion of Mary’s practice is sharing what she makes. With a background in primary teaching and museum education, she greatly enjoy running workshops and giving talks; sharing her enthusiasm for making and the passing on of skills.

if you are interested in this exciting course, please contact Julie here to check that the course is suitable for you.


Inspired by Japan 

Exploring and experimenting with Japanese paper band 

Tutor :Mary Butcher 

Hosted by : Julie Rignell

Saturday 2nd (10 -6) and Sunday 3rd (9.30 -4.30) November 2019 

Level : Intermediate and Advanced 

Places available : 7

£165 ( inclusive of materials )

Following on from last years successful workshop with Mary Butcher, I am delighted to be welcoming Mary back for another Japanese themed workshop. This workshop will focus on exploring and experimenting with Japanese paper band. Used whole, paper band can be used to create plaited and complex plaited structures or for more sculptural interlaced structures;  broken down into thinner strips paper band can be used to make twined baskets ,with an open or closed structure. Thin and thick strips can also be combined for textural variation and to create pattern. Willow bark strips can also be incorporated for those wishing to introduce natural materials into their work. 

For this workshop Mary has selected the three baskets shown above from her extensive collection which will form the basis of our explorations.

 This course is aimed at practicing basketmakers and fibre artists with intermediate or advanced level basketry skills. The course fee includes all materials for the course. 

Please check availability here before making your payment via the cancellation policy and payment page 



About the tutor: 

Mary Butcher trained with a traditional basketmaker, Alwyne Hawkins, in Kent. She used willow and rush, our traditional materials, making functional items for local markets. A Research Fellowship at Manchester Metropolitan University alerted Mary to a wealth of new creative possibilities with a wider range of materials and markets. 

She still uses natural materials, plus plastics, wire, strings, paper to make containers, willow drawings and sculptures on different scales. She was Crafts Council Designer in Residence at the V&A in 2009, received an MBE for services to basketmaking in 2012 and was one of two Crafts Skills Champions, in 2013, an award for transmission of traditional skills, an activity she feels passionate about. For 25 years Mary was Trade Advisor to the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.

In 2019, Mary had a solo show of her sculptural basketry at Flow Gallery, London. She has also exhibited at the Quenington Fresh air sculpture exhibition and is currently showing work as part of the Ruthin Basketry Now exhibition in North Wales.