Eco

Basketry & Pottery with Native Hands

Native Hands: Wild Pottery & Wild Basketry Courses

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These courses have evolved out of a love of making things in nature using natural materials. Foraging our materials from the land to use in these sustainable crafts, many bushcraft skills are an integral part of the learning. It’s easy to take the objects and resources we use in our daily lives for granted; these courses are an opportunity to experience the whole cycle of production: harvesting/gathering materials in a sustainable way, processing them and finally creating a useful and beautiful object.

Taking time out of our daily lives to be creative in the woods round a fire, with birdsong, wild plants, and like-minded people can be deeply nourishing and rejuvenating. We can find a sense of space and connection…to ourselves, to each other, to our ancestors, and to the web of life itself.

These courses are suitable for all levels (beginners as well as those with some experience). Designed for adults, but 16-18 year olds are welcome if accompanied by a participating, responsible adult.

Native Hands tutor Ruby Taylor is a qualified teacher at post graduate level, with over 20 years’ experience. She is appreciated for her ability to teach the techniques of basketry and pottery with clarity, patience and humour. Ruby has an honours degree in 3D Crafts and has been a maker since she was knee-high. From both formal training and her own experimentation with foraged materials, Ruby has a breadth and depth of knowledge, and a love of the natural world. She has an interest in the historical origins of basketry and pottery and teaches ancient craft & technology to all ages as part of East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership. Ruby also has her own practice as an artist/maker.

  

 


 

 

Willow Bark Containers, Stitched & Woven

Saturday 16th May, 2015 10.30am-4.30pm Cost: £65

To book click here

 

stitched-barkbark baskets

Spend a day in the woods making a sturdy and long-lasting bark container to take home with you. Make a berry basket, a penknife sheath for your belt, a container that hangs on the wall (for kitchen utensils, paint brushes etc), or make a design of your choice.

There will be a range of sample baskets to handle, both stitched and woven, to inspire you and help you decide what to make. You’ll stitch or weave your basket together using only the bark itself. Guidance and tuition will be on hand to support you.

We'll use willow bark which we'll harvest on the day from the land at Wowo. You'll learn where, when and how to harvest bark in a sustainable way. Cut and used fresh, the bark is beautifully supple and pliable to work with. We'll also explore processing it with wood ash to achieve different effects.

Some time will be set aside for connecting to the beautiful surroundings, making the day a nourishing as well as a learning experience.

Suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience. Places limited to just 10 participants. Visit the Native Hands gallery page to see photos of previous bark basket courses.

Thank you so much for a wonderful and I mean REALLY wonderful day learning about bark, fire-making and connecting to nature again, and all the good soul nourishing things that we did. I’m very pleased with my container. Mary said that the workshop was one of the best birthday presents she’s ever had!” Amy H, Brighton. 

  


 

Wild Cordage 

Sunday 17th May, 2015 10.30am-4.30pm Cost: £65

To book Click Here

Wild cordageWild cordage2

Learn how to make cordage (string) from a variety of plants which we’ll forage for on the day. There’ll be lots of samples on hand for you too look at and be inspired by. We’ll work with plants that need varying degrees of preparation to make cordage from, so you’ll come away with a really good understanding of the specific methods required to make cordages for various uses and from different types of fibres. From a quick, on-the-hoof cordage, through to a robust, long lasting cordage that is made from a more complex process. This is a brand new course for 2015.

The plants we’ll work with will be juncus, nettle, bark and bramble. These four all require different processing techniques, which you’ll learn about and have a go at. They’ll each give you significantly different cordages of varying strength and application of use.

If you’re attending the  (the day before this course) you can use your cordage to make a strap for your container (plus there’s a discount available if you come to both days. See details below).

But of course string has many uses. After all, it’s at the base of human culture, and some might argue that it’s one of the main skills that make us human, and has been key to our survival and evolution as a species.

When you make your own, you’ll never look at a humble ball of twine in the same way again.

We’ll also have time set aside for connecting to the beautiful surroundings, making the day a nourishing as well as a learning experience. Suitable for all levels, including beginners. Places limited to just 10 participants. 

If you attend our Bark Containers as well as this day (both are on the same weekend) there’s a discounted price available, of £120 for both days. For people attending both days there is also a camping option. Please  with Native Hands This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange a discounted place and to book camping.

 

 


  

Wild Pottery

A two-day course: Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June, 2015 10.30am-4.30pm each day.

Cost per two-day course: £130 To book click here

 

P1040358-resizedWild pottery course

Spend two days in beautiful woodland making hand built pottery using locally dug 'raw' Sussex clay, including clay that we'll dig on the day. (Wild Pottery is also available as a family course). You can see course photos on the Native Hands gallery page

The first day is all about earth and water: learn how to find and select clay in the landscape, how to collect it and make it usable. You'll make an item or two of your choice: for example a small pot, a figurine, an oil lamp. Technical assistance will be on hand from Ruby to help you make what you have in mind, and guidance will be on offer to take you through the steps of making a pot. You'll learn about making and adding various inclusions to strengthen your pottery enough for it to withstand the thermal shock of being fired in an open fire.

The second day is all about fire and wood: we'll fire the pots, foraging some of the fuel from the woodland site. You'll learn how to fire your pots successfully in an open fire, and about the temperatures and stages of transformation involved. It's an exciting process to take part in and really magical to witness clay being transformed by fire. In the afternoon, you'll learn how to make your own fire without matches, using ancient percussive and friction methods, while we keep an eye on our pots and wait for them to cool enough so they can be taken home at the end of the day. You never know exactly how your pots will turn out so it's always a thrill.

This course provides an in-depth understanding of all the processes involved in making wild pottery, and will give you a hands-on appreciation of the origins of this craft. The tools, equipment and technology we'll be using are, as far as is known, the same as those used since Neolithic times, when pottery began, and well into the Bronze age.

We'll also have time set aside for connecting to the beautiful surroundings, making the weekend a nourishing as well as a learning experience. Suitable for all levels including beginners. Places limited to a maximum of just 10 people.

“Really, really enjoyed those two days - we all felt very refreshed and inspired.
I have my little pot on my desk to remind me of the wonderful experience."
Simon M, Brighton

Accommodation: make a weekend of it! Camping is available for course attendees on the Saturday night at £10 per person. When you book your place on this course you will be sent details of how to book for camping (early booking recommended). This special camping arrangement is not being done via the usual camp-site booking system at the venues, so please don't contact them directly about it.

Wowo also has a number of glamping options. Unlike the camping option above, you should book glamping directly with Wowo.

Please note that the cost of camping/glamping is not included in the price of the course.

 


 

Grass Baskets

Saturday 4th July (Part 1) & Sunday 5th July (Part 2), 2015 10.30am-4.30pm each day

Cost: £65 for one day, £120 for both days  To book click here

Coiled Grass Basketsgrass baskets

This is one of our most popular courses. People love the mellow atmosphere that grass basket-making creates. Spend time in the woods making a small stitched coiled basket from grass, some of which we’ll gather on the day. Learn about which grasses and leaves you can harvest and use, how to harvest sustainably, when to do the harvesting and how to process your harvest. We'll stitch with twined hemp, to make a basket that's sturdy and perfect for storing eggs or other similar-sized objects. You’ll leave with all the knowledge you need to make another yourself after the course.

Part 1, July 4th: If you're a new-comer to basketry or have doubts about your abilities, this is a great introduction, and you'll come away the proud maker of a useful and beautiful basket. All welcome, including beginners.

Part 2, July 5th: If you have some experience of making coiled baskets, you can expand your skills in Part 2. Make your own starting coil from grasses you've gathered, and either a lid for the basket you've made. Or consolidate your learning by making another piece. We'll look at various different and creative ways of making lids, lips and handles. Part 2 is open to those attending Part 1, and to those who've previously been on a Native Hands grass baskets day.

Sample baskets will be brought along to show you different kinds of shapes possible with this technique. Grasses used for this kind of basket are widely available to forage, and you'll leave with all the knowledge you need to make another yourself after the course. It'll get you looking at verges and lawns in a whole new light.

If you attend our Bone Needle course on 25th April 2015 you can use the needle you made to stitch your grass basket.

We'll also have time set aside for connecting to the beautiful surroundings, making the day a nourishing as well as a learning experience.

Suitable for all levels, including beginners. Places limited to just 10 participants. Visit the Native Hands gallery page to see photos of previous grass basket courses.

“Ruby - I wanted to thank you again for the lovely basket workshop. It was so relaxed yet focused, clear modelling with space to crack on and explore with your supportive skills and knowledge on tap”. Richard S, London.

Accommodation: make a weekend of it! Camping is available for course attendees on the Saturday night at £10 per person. When you book your place on this course you will be sent details of how to book for camping (early booking recommended). This special camping arrangement is not being done via the usual camp-site booking system at the venues, so please don't contact them directly about it.

Wowo also has a number of glamping options. Unlike the camping option above, you should book glamping directly with Wowo.

Please note that the cost of camping/glamping is not included in the price of the course.

 


Rush & Wild Rose Frame Basket

Saturday 26th September 2015 10.30am-4.30pm

Cost: £65 To book click here

 

Rush platterrushrose baskets

Spend a day in the woods, round a roaring camp fire, making a frame basket using wild rose and English rush (Schoenoplectus lacustris). These beautiful, tactile platters are perfect for bread or fruit. We’ll harvest some wild rose for making frames, looking at how, when and where to cut it sustainably; and how to set it into a frame for the weaving. English rush is a delightful material to work with, a native plant with a long history of use in basket making. It makes a lovely partnership with the wild rose.

We'll also have time set aside for connecting to the beautiful surroundings, making the day a nourishing as well as a learning experience.

Suitable for all levels including beginners. Places limited to just 10 participants. Visit the Native Hands gallery page to see photos of previous rush basket courses.

"I loved the basket-making day because we were out in nature, sitting around a fire and it all seemed very relaxed. I was very skilfully tutored and encouraged, met some lovely people, ate delicious food and generally had a great time! Not only did I leave the woods relaxed and happy at the end of the day, but I also came away with a very useful basket and a restored faith in my own abilities!" Anne L, Sussex.