Celtic knot platter with Judy Simmonds

Ref: S1D33618

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About this course

This intriguing Celtic Knot platter is reminiscent of flowing patterns of Victorian carpet beaters, sailor's knotted rope mats and Celtic stone crosses. Almost magically, tension and balance are the forces which hold the structure toge ther. A craft-minded approach and good upper body strength are the only real requirements for beginner and i n termediate makers alike.

Course Description

In this course, you will learn how to make a Celtic Knot platter with willow. In the construction, tension and balance are paramount, holding the intricate design together. The process requires a keen eye, along with strength in your shoulders and hands to maintain the rotating rhythm strand by strand. As the shape tightens, gentle adjustments can be made to raise the edges, allowing for a bowl rather than a platter profile.

The Celtic Knot pattern itself has a rich history, seen in various woven forms such as rope mats, Victorian carpet beaters, and Celtic stone crosses. Once you grasp the rhythm and sequence, you will rotate to the next position, curving the willow rods until they are all locked in place. The second phase involves pulling and easing each rod against its neighbour to ensure even, snug tension throughout.

For beginners working with willow, the Celtic Knot provides an accessible introduction to its flexible nature and the importance of rods of 'nearly exact' size supporting one another. Unsoaked willow is used for this construction, and the only tools required are sharp snippers or small garden pruners and long-nosed pliers.

During the workshop, the logic of the sequence and each movement is thoroughly demonstrated, making progress a straightforward journey with repetition of a single weaving movement. You will begin the course by sorting the 50 rods into groups of similar diameters, followed by trimming and laying out according to the star/pentangle formation. Each rod then follows a specific weaving pattern, guided by one-to-one instruction and ample support for any challenges that may arise. By the end of the workshop, you should have completed your own Celtic Knot platter, with additional bundle of willow available for further practice at home.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply bundles of willow as part of the course fee

What students need to bring

  • Bring small garden snippers (jewellers side cutters) or equivalent, plus small set of long-nosed pliers
  • Sturdy covered footwear in the workshop – this is an essential health and safety requirement.

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • You can purchase extra bundles at £3 to practice at home

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

General Information


Judy Simmonds

Impressed twenty years ago by film footage of a Peruvian footbridge spanning a deep river chasm re-made each year from grass,  Judy studied willow constructions with Malcolm Seal, Linda Lemieux, Joe Hogan, Tom Hare, Welsh coracle builders, and split ash with American Jamin Uticone. 

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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.