About this course

Learn the skills to make a simple square bottom to round ash splint basket. The techniques you will learn have their roots in traditional basket making of North America.

Course Description

In this one day course, you will weave a simple square bottom to round top ash splint basket. The techniques you will learn have their roots in traditional basket making of North America.

The course will cover:

Preparation and background

Each ash splint used to weave the basket starts as a section of the tree’s growth ring and is created through pounding an ash log. All the splints will be prepared in advance but you will learn about the process and tools used to prepare the splints as well as learning the basic knife skills to do so.

Processes and finishing

You will learn how to do basic weave, understand form and tension, as well as rim work.

Basic theory

Identifying ash, discussions on choosing a log for pounding, the pounding process and the threat of ash dieback to the species.

Although some previous experience of basketry may be helpful, it is not essential. The skills learnt in the day will give you the foundation to adapt future baskets to your own design and it will give you a new appreciation of the mighty ash; its’ durability, flexibility, strengths and weaknesses.

It is essential that all attendees are able to take instruction and have strength and stability in their hands – also see Additional Information section.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the materials and tools.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook should you wish to make notes and a camera should you wish to make a visual
  • documentation. It’s advised to bring a wrist support if needed.
  • Covered footwear is essential in this workshop

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). This course involves the use of sharp hand tools in close proximity to the body. Full demonstration and tuition will be given for their use but a calm, patient and focused attitude is essential for the safe practice and wellbeing of the group. Tutor supervision is required at all times when students work in this workshop.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

General Information


Michelle Mateo

Michelle is an ash splint basket maker and pole-lathe bowl turner, who is largely self-taught, learning to weave her first basket eight years ago. She is proud to announce that she is the 1st prize winner, traditional category, of The Worshipful Basketmakers Company 2022 basketry competition.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.