Textile basketry – twining and looping with Mary Crabb

Ref: SWE13182

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About this course

Learn techniques of twining and looping, making a connection with basketry and textiles. Work around simple moulds to make samples and understand how to create woven structures, using fine flexible materials.

Course Description

Learn techniques of twining and simple looping, making a connection with basketry and textiles.

The focus of the making will be working around a mould, which either becomes part of the finished piece or is removed to leave a hollow form.

Twining requires the weaving of an active element around a passive warp. The weaving is worked in the hands with the use of a few simple tools. Looped structures are formed using loops with either the fingers or a needle. The resulting fabric can be either tightly worked and therefore firm or loosely worked and more fluid.

Working around simple moulds, samples will be made using both techniques. You will be encouraged to work with a range of different, fine, flexible materials, all of which will have their own qualities. This will provide a variety of results when moulds are removed. Some of the moulds will be incorporated into the piece, meaning that the work almost covers the mould, for example: working around a pebble.

The tutor will demonstrate techniques, provide visual notes and offer individual support to enable you to create your own decorative pieces.

By the end of the course, you should be confident with the basic techniques of twining and simple looping and have an understanding of how to work around different forms to create a woven structure. The course will highlight the differences in materials and their characteristics.


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 course fee includes the cost of providing materials, shared amongst the group, including: thread, wools, string, paper yarns, twine and cords, in a selection of colours and textures.
  • Tools will be available on loan, if required.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook or sketchbook for recording any additional information
  • A camera (may be useful for recording)
  • Scissors - a pair suitable for cutting string and twine and a finer pair for threads
  • Any large eyed needles you have
  • Any examples/images of twined or looped structures would be useful.
  • Please wear covered shoes in the workshop.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of needles
  • String – office string and upholstery twine
  • Garden twine (Some may be available in the West Dean Gardens shop.)

Additional information

Asthma and hay fever suffers are advised to bring their medication, as occasionally the fibres from some strings may bring on symptoms. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Mary Crabb

Mary Crabb is an award-winning contemporary basketmaker. Having originally worked in willow, Mary now works with fine flexible materials, both natural and man-made, to create small, detailed and decorative woven forms exploring the connection between basketry and textiles.


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

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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.