What does a basket maker do?
Basket makers design and make baskets using a variety of techniques, including looping, knotting, plaiting, coiling, weaving, twining and assembly. They might work with traditional materials including reed, cane, grasses and yarns, or newer materials like recycled plastics, paper and textiles.
Basket makers are often self-employed, running their own businesses and selling their work through galleries or online. Many basket makers also run courses and teach others their skills.
Basket makers might make baskets that are functional, or use their skills to create more sculptural pieces.
- interest in craft and design
- enjoy working with your hands
- creative flair
- methodical and attention to detail
- physically strong, in order to work with more robust materials
If you are dealing with the public, you also need to have customer service skills. If you are designing bespoke pieces, you need to be able to explain your creative ideas to customers.
If you're self-employed, you need business skills too, so you can market your goods and services, deal with finances and develop your business.
How do I become a basket maker?
There are currently no specialist basket making degrees, but you could study for a degree in Design Crafts and specialise later. Providers include:
Colleges and universities across the UK offer short courses through which you can gain specialist basketry skills. These include:
- West Dean College offer courses covering traditional and contemporary basketry techniques
- Musgrove Willows offer willow basket courses
- City Lit and Morley College
Find out more:
Lois Walpole was born in London of Anglo Scottish heritage. She graduated from Central Saint Martins, London with a B.A.(Hons.) in Sculpture in 1975 and obtained a City and Guilds qualifications in Basket Making from the London College of Furniture in 1982. In 2003 she completed a Doctorate in the Design department at the Royal College of Art in London. Since 1982 she has worked full time as an artist/ basket maker taking part in and curating national and international exhibitions, working to commission, designing for production, teaching and writing. Find out more here.