Willow Garden Decorations: Sunflowers and Dragonflies One Day Workshop

Course overview

Spend some creative and reflective time in the beautiful surroundings of Merrist Wood creating some bespoke woven creations for your garden that you will treasure forever. Willow is traditionally the most common basket making material in the UK but it can be used to weave many other items too! Whilst the ancient craft of basketmaking is enjoying a resurgence, people are looking at the beauty of willow and applying it to many other uses.

On this one-day workshop, we will be weaving willow to create two lovely additions to your home or garden: a large sunflower and a 3D dragonfly. When you get home plunge the stakes into either a pot (indoor or out) or directly into the soil of your garden amongst the plants. The dragonfly looks especially good if placed near a pond where it will bob about gently in the breeze.

Please note there is an additional payment of £8 to cover the cost of the willow which is to be paid directly to the tutor on the day.

  The sunflower involves quite a few traditional basketmaking techniques which, if you go on to make a willow basket, will stand you in good stead. Look closely at the middle of the sunflower and you will see it is the same pattern (and technique) as the base of a round basket. Added to this are the large sweeping petals which require care and delicateness to achieve.

The dragonfly uses quite a different method for its body, you will learn a plaiting technique like that used for corn dollies. The wings are created much like the sunflower petals.

At the end of the day, you will go home with both a sunflower and a dragonfly.

This is a very hands-on practical workshop! Every step will be described and demonstrated by the tutor, first to the group as a whole and also one-to-one as required. Some techniques require lots of repetition, others are quick to learn, so the pace of the workshop varies from person to person, group to group. The tutor will move around the group, offering guidance and encouragement, to ensure you achieve the best possible results.

  • £8 to cover the cost of the willow
  • A work apron or wear old clothes (sometimes the damp bark of the willow can be a bit messy)
  • No open-toed sandals, please
  • Notebook and pen, should you wish to make notes.
  • Packed lunch and refreshments

All the basketmaking tools are provided for your use by the tutor.

You will be working with willow rods that have been soaked in water to restore their pliability. Whilst they are relatively soft, you do need some manual strength to coax them into position when you are weaving. A few students find this hard on their hands, usually if they suffer from arthritis. If this is you, take short breaks and work at your own pace, there is absolutely no rush!

Tutor Profile:

My name is Louise Brown and I have been involved in basketmaking for twenty years. I have a City & Guilds in Basketmaking, followed by a teaching qualification, and have been running my own workshops and teaching in adult education for around five years. I absolutely love sharing my craft with others and have infinite patience which ensures all students achieve the best possible results. I draw immense pleasure seeing students develop from complete novices to competent makers.

Course Starts in 108 Days
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We want our learners to feel welcome, safe and at ease when attending our classes, especially if this is your first time attending an adult education class or if you're coming back to education after a break.
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