Grey Bloom by Michael Eden, 2010

Contemporary Basketry at Origin

Work by Shuna Rendell

The exhibition and participatory elements at this years Origin: the London Craft Fair, Tuesday 6 to Sunday 11 October and Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 October, at Somerset House, will all focus on contemporary basketry.

To coincide with basket maker Mary Butcher’s current Crafts Council/V&A maker residency at the V&A’s Sackler Centre, the programme of events at Origin will focus on basketry in order to increase public understanding and appreciation of this discipline. Basketry will feature in the Origin Intervention, Crafting Space and the Crafts Council Collection Showcase.

For the Origin Intervention, Mary Butcher and the Crafts Council have selected eight leading basket makers, each with a highly individual approach to their work, to present a unique object. These objects will be presented within a series of intervention spaces throughout the Origin pavilion and in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, at Somerset House. The makers featured in the Origin Intervention are;

• Laura Ellen Bacon, who will create a large-scale organic structure on one of the exterior pavilion walls will exploring her interest in processes of accumulation such as the creation of a bird’s nest.
• Dail Behennah, who will use monofilament fishing line to create barely visible cubes and columns that will be arranged to suggest an urban landscape or cellular structure. These structures create shadows and lines that question the eye’s perception.
• Lee Dalby, who will create an architectural structure of bamboo and inner tubing that will be constructed on site in the corner of the courtyard allowing visitors to walk through and experience the space before entering the fair
• Elizabeth Murton, whose material of choice is newspaper due to its abundance in the urban environment. She will create an abstract form that explores the pattern and repetition in basketry construction.
• Shuna Rendel, who uses traditional utilitarian craft techniques to create three-dimensional flexible sculptures. She explodes scale, manipulates form, and challenges the materials and their natural qualities.
• Laura Street, who weaves her pieces and then coats them in paperclay before firing in a kiln. The pieces of paperclay that emerge from the kiln are reminiscent of fossils and are displayed in old containers and everyday discarded items.
• Kazuhito Takadoi, who will create an abstract form using materials collected directly from the landscape. The piece will explore Takadoi’s interest in the elements beyond the makers control such as the light, shadow and movement of people around it.
• Lois Walpole, whose installation will address the question ‘when is a basket not a basket?’ in response to the fact that many contemporary basketmakers make houses, boats, clothing, jewellery, furniture, sculpture and much more with their skills.

This years’ interactive exhibit ‘Hybrid Basketry’, will take place in the Crafting Space area of the Origin pavilion and will engage the public directly with basketry techniques. The project, designed by Shane Waltener, will invite visitors to de-construct commonly-found domestic basketry objects, and re-weave them to create new forms and shapes, with the help of students from the City Lit Creative Basketry course.

The Crafts Council Collection Showcase will present pieces of contemporary basketry from the Crafts Council Collection selected by Mary Butcher.

In addition two family workshops and two ticketed master-classes, all on basketry, will be held at the Learning Centre within Somerset House.

Through all these events at Origin: the London Craft Fair, the Crafts Council intends to highlight that contemporary basketry is a vibrant, dynamic and relevant craft form.


For further information and electronic images please contact Jill Read, Press Officer, Crafts Council, Tel: 020 7806 2549 or Email:

Visitor Information

Part One: 6 to 11 October
Part Two: 13 to 18 October
Monday 12 October for exhibitor changeover

Opening Times;
Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.15 pm)
Late-night Thursdays 10am – 9pm (last admission 8.15 pm)

Somerset House

Tube: Holborn, Temple, Embankment
National Rail: Waterloo

Tickets are now available from Ticketmaster and 0844 847 2393. To receive advance ticket price bookings must be made by 5 October. Booking fee applies.

• Full price ‘single’ entry £10/ £8 in advance
• Concession ‘single’ entry £8/ not available in advance
• Season pass (unlimited entry) £15/£12 in advance
• Concession season pass £12/not available in advance
• Under 12 years free

Illustrated catalogue included in the price of admission given out at the event.

Notes to Editors

• Mary Butcher is the Crafts Council and V&A maker-in-residence at the Sackler Centre for Arts Education. Her residency runs from July to December 2009. Selected by the Crafts Council and the V&A for her expertise in basketry, she will create new work throughout her residency and run a programme of open studio sessions and workshops for adults and children. For more information visit
• The Origin Intervention (apart from the pieces by Lee Dalby and Laura Ellen Bacon in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court) can only be seen with a valid ticket to Origin: the London Craft Fair.
• Origin is the place for anyone interested in contemporary craft with a new selection of over 150 contemporary craft makers across all disciplines, including ceramics, glass, textiles and jewellery, each week.
• The independent selection panel for Origin this year was; Grant Gibson, Editor of Crafts magazine, Corinne Julius, arts journalist, Lina Kanafani, owner of interior design store mint, and CJ Lim, architect. The panel selected at the start of April.
• The Crafts Council website has up-to-date information on all the makers plus during the fair there will be day-to-day updates of the programme of events. Visit
• Ikea are the official supplier of the basketry products that will be used in Hybrid Basketry.
• The Crafts Council Collection represents the very best in British craft over the last 35 years, with more than 1,300 fascinating objects from both established figures and upcoming names.
• The Crafts Council is the national development agency for contemporary crafts. It aims to position the UK as the best place in the world for making, seeing and collecting contemporary craft.
• For further information about the Crafts Council visit
• The Crafts Council is supported by Arts Council England. Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. As the national development agency for the arts, it supports a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Between 2008 and 2011, Arts Council England will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

See also