Weaving Stories

25 Apr 2018

Regular opening hours

09:00 – 17:00
09:00 – 17:00
09:00 – 17:00
09:00 – 17:00
09:00 – 16:00
09:00 – 15:00

Cost of entry

£3, Free for UH Students


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Create a paper basket exhibition and hear from Professor Owen Davies on Basketry Then and Now


Explore basketry then and weave your own story for today.

New Geographies is a project redrawing the map of East England through stories and reflections of overlooked or forgotten places.

Join us for an afternoon of basketry, which weaves 3 projects together that all explore people’s everyday narratives in different contexts through a story of craft.

As well as hearing about these projects, you will have the opportunity to create your own paper basket, weaving your own story of a local place into the basket, inspired by those nominated through the New Geographies project.

The afternoon will include:

Why basketry?

Basketry was a UK wide (and worldwide) craft, and a common household object. The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers states that it is ‘older than weaving of cloth, more ancient than the early ceramic art…’ Basketry told stories of place, as people used what was available locally to make baskets and then used them for everyday activities; Hertfordshire now holds the UK National Willow Collection at Rothamsted.

In the exhibition, Beyond the Battlefields, some of Käthe Buchler's photographs from WW1 show baskets used at the time, before the prevalent use of plastic containers.

Basketry Then and Now was Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project through the Everyday Lives in War Engagement Centre which explored the importance of basketry and willow to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the country during First World War, and examined the long-term legacy in terms of intangible cultural heritage and landscape change.

Basketry workshop

Join Mary Crabb, contemporary basket maker, to create a small woven paper basket using the basketry technique of plaiting. Weave strips of paper together, from working flat to three dimensionally to make a patterned basket. With the addition of text to the woven strips, you can weave a narrative about a local place which means something to you into the finished form. The basket could be further embellished with supplementary strips to add a surface design. Each maker will produce their own unique basket, reflecting words or thoughts on local places that have a personal meaning.

More about the Artist:

Mary Crabb is a contemporary textile and basket maker, tutor and maths support teacher. She is part of the Basketry Then and Now community group. Originally working in willow, Mary now uses adapted basketry and textile techniques to weave objects in a wide range of traditional and contemporary materials. Some of her most recent work reflects her interest in the past, facts and figures, to create acts of remembrance through making.

Watch Mary talk about Basketry Then and Now


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