Basketmaking and Willow Sculpture Courses in Manchester 2016-2017

My new season of courses begins in September, with a mixture of midweek and weekend 1 day and 2 day courses, and new for this year, an exciting and longer structured course of 6 one day sessions over 6 consecutive weeks for anyone wishing to learn the rudiments of basketmaking and go beyond.


Wed 1st Sept – Wed 12th Oct 2016 – 6 Week Wednesday Basketmaking School – this course runs from 9.30am to 4pm – 6 places

Over these six 1 day sessions, students will be taught a structured program of techniques, making bases, using a variety of weaves and willow, learning how to prepare willow, learning how to control shape and design their own baskets. We will be concentrating on round traditional stake and strand basketry and exploring how to use the techniques to create strong and exciting baskets. Though a mixture of group demonstration and one to one guidance, over the duration of the course, students will be gain a set of skills to take them into exploring basketmaking beyond the end of the course for themselves.

The course is highly suitable for beginners and improvers.

 A Living Willow Hideaway- 2 day £160 – Philips Park, Whitefield, Manchester
– 6 places
Sat 11th to Sun 12th Feb 2017

Over this 2 day course, you’ll learn all the techniques for marking out and preparing the ground for making a willow den; how to prepare and plant the willow and the different weaving techniques that can be used when building the structure, and guidance on aftercare.

We’ll be making living willow den on site, from start to finish and included in the cost is willow to take away with you to make a den of your own, approx 2m diameter.



Willow Globes or Spheres – 1 day £80 – Chorlton/ Central Manchester

Thurs 8th Sept 2016 

Learn the techniques used in building a framework and shaping your sculpture with basketry willows, combining traditional techniques and free weaving. You’ll be able to make one larger one approx 60-80cm diameter or a couple of smaller ones.

Living Willow Fences and Archways – 1 day £100, including materials – Philips Park, Whitefield – 6 places

Sun 19th Feb 2017 

Learn how to plant  and weave a willow fence, create different shapes with the technique, and how to look after the new growth. It’s a versatile technique which can be used to make screens and dens as well as fences. The cost includes willow to build your own 3m long fence or 1.5 m long archway at home. 

Working on living willow fence

Working on living willow fence

Willow Fairy Sculpture – 1 day £80 – Chorlton/Central Manchester – 6 places

Sat 17th Sept 2016

This one day workshop is a chance to try different ways to use willow and make your own willow sculpture



Make a Willow Heron – 1 day £80 – Chorlton/Central Manchester – 6 places

Thurs 22nd Sept 2016

Sun 16th October 2016

Willow herons are pleasing sinous shapes, interesting to make and beautiful to have in the garden, or inside.They are freestanding on a block or can be set into the ground.


One Day Basketmaking Course – £80 – Chorlton/Central Manchester – 6 places

Wed 19th Oct 2016

Sun 6th Nov 2016

One day basketmaking course – make your own sturdy round or oval basket similar to the ones below, and learn how to prepare willow if you want to practise your skills by yourself after the course. Course is suitable for beginners and improvers.

Made on a one day basketmaking course

Made on a one day basketmaking course


Two Day Basketmaking Weekender- £130 – Chorlton/Central Manchester/Whitefield – 6 places

Sat 1st- Sun 2nd Sept 2016

Sat 19th-Sun 20th November 2016

A 2 day course for beginners and improvers. We’ll be making round stake and strand baskets, using pairing weave for base, which is different from the method used on the 1 day courses. Stake and strand baskets all start off with the same basic techniques but on this longer course you’ll be able to make a basket to your own size and shape.



About the courses

All courses are suitable for beginners and improvers, unless otherwise stated.

The courses are held in The Barn Countryside Centre, Whitefield; Talbot Mill, central Manchester, and in Chorlton.

The sessions are from 9.30am-4.30pm, tools are provided and materials are included in the cost of each course unless otherwise stated. There is a maximum of 6 places on each course.

Refreshments are included so you just need to bring lunch.

About the willow

P1220706I use a mixture of basketry willows, some grown in Somerset and some coppiced locally, and on specific courses we may also use other materials. Basketry willows are one year old rods which are either dried with the bark left on (known as ‘brown’ willow); boiled with the bark on, to release the tannins giving a golden colour when peeled (known as ‘buff’), or else peeled in spring when the sap rises and the bark can be easily stripped, revealing a bright white rod (‘white’ willow).Before using, the willow needs soaking in cold water, and for brown willow this can be between 3 and 7 days depending on the size, the time of year and the variety of willow.

Booking information

There are 6 places on each course.

The cost includes all materials. Places will be confirmed on receipt of a deposit – £60 for a 2 day course, or full payment for 1 day courses, please complete any balance of payment 4 weeks before course start date: if you have to cancel after this time, unless the place is filled by someone on the reserve list, the course fee can not be refunded.

If the course is cancelled by myself, then payment will be refunded in full, unless you wish to book onto another course.

Want to treat someone else?  I will happily send a gift voucher if you wish to give a course as a present  please contact me and I’ll send the recipient a course gift vouchers which will be valid for a year from purchase.

If you’re interested in booking or want more information please feel free to contact me by email or phone.

Classroom screen, Holden Clough Primary School, Ashton-under-Lyne