Ash splint basket weaving with Michelle Mateo

Ref: SWE32549

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About this course

In this two day course you will weave a double-bottom round top ash splint basket. The techniques you learn have their roots in the traditional basket making of North America.

Course Description

While you learn to make your basket you will also gain insight into the background to the tradition of making this kind of baskets and how the timber is prepared for weaving.

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 pounded in advance, but you will learn to process and prepare them yourself, as well as learning the basic knife skills to do so.

The processes and finishing techniques include learn how to do basic weave, understand form and tension within the weaving of your basket, as well as rim work.

Basic theory is also covered in how to identifying ash timber, 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 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.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply all the materials.

What students need to bring

  • A camera to keep a visual record of your work and a notebook to make notes.
  • It’s advised to bring a wrist support, if needed.
  • Covered footwear is essential in this workshop.

Additional information

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


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)

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.


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

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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.