Raffia hat making with Claire Richards

Ref: S2D31621

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About this course

Discover raffia craft as you learn how to make your own fabulous raffia hat from this sustainable material. This course is suitable for beginners and those with sewing or raffia work experience.

Course Description

You will learn how flexible and relaxing it can be working with raffia and how adaptable it is to new designs. You will be provided with full printed instructions on the technique and also the patterns for completing your own hat in the correct size for you. Your finished hat will be beautiful, but also very durable (your tutor will bring the one that she made in 1993) and therefore a sustainable and functional addition to your wardrobe.

You will learn about the origins of raffia, how it can be dyed and the various ways in which not only hats, but other beautiful accessories can be produced for yourself or for your home. The emphasis in the workshop will be on learning the weaving technique that can be applied to make beautiful and sustainable hats. The same skills can also be applied and developed to make bags.

Beginners, as well as those who have basic sewing or raffia craft experience, are very welcome on this course, but there is definitely no need for any prior raffia or other experience, nor do you need to have specialist equipment. You will receive guidance and personal tuition to teach you the skills needed, and you should all leave the class with a completed hat and the skills to make more if you wish. The key objectives for any raffia work is always to be able to relax and enjoy the craft.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The tutor will supply all the raffia needed to make one hat, plus the use of a hat block to make in the correct size.

What students need to bring

  • A pair of comfortable scissors
  • A thimble if you like to use one
  • If you have a supply of ribbons or other accessories that you might like to decorate your hat with, please bring them along. The tutor will have a small supply of ribbons, or you can finish your hat with a raffia twist.

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • Additional raffia can be purchased from the tutor if you would like to make further items. Payment by cash or BACS.

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Claire Richards

Claire Richards has been teaching raffia craft for over 25 years. She learnt her craft from a visiting Australian in 1993 and since then has been hooked. Claire exhibits at a number of major and regional events where her focus is on passing on her enthusiasm for raffia.  


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

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.