Back to the land of the bowerbird....

By Monday night I'll be back in the land of the bowerbird! Exciting times as I embark on a 2 month trip working on a sculpture project 'The deeper Voice of Textiles' in Newcastle, NSW, Australia in collaboration with Timeless Textiles - the foremost contemporary textile gallery in Australia. More of this project to come - but first back to the bowers - in this case photographs of the bower or dancing ground of the male Satin Bowerbird that I photographed on my last trip in 2015. Since childhood I've been fascinated by these birds and their constructions built not for nesting - but display and attracting a mate. Interwoven twigs are combined with a variety blue trinkets gathered from the locality - in this case the family home of Harriet Goodall (thankyou for hosting me Harriet!).

In 2000 I took up an artist's residency with the New England Regional Arts Museum in Armidale, NSW, after the residency I then travelled on to Alice Springs and the Olgas in the central desert region of Australia, here I was lucky enough to catch up with the Western Bowerbird noisily feeding around the dry river beds. Onwards and up to Caiman Creek in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park in Arnhem Land, NT and the Great Bowerbird with it's spectacular bower decorated with shells, bones, mangrove nuts and a bouquet of greenery - below you can see a scan of one of my 35mm slides from my trusty old Olympus OM1.

Above - Great Bowerbird's bower, Caiman Creek, NT

Below - Satin Bowerbird's bower, Robertson, NSW.


.....some of my favourite baskets are twined

Above: Openwork Pandanus basket by Rosie Bindal Bindal, Yilan near Maningrida, NT, Australia

Yes - some of my favourite baskets are twined - that is - woven with two or more weavers travelling along at the same time capturing stakes as they go and twisting around each other - there are lots of twining variations and for some reason they have always captured my attention. Perhaps because it was one of the first techniques I learnt many years ago with Mary Butcher, maybe because I have been lucky enough to join indigenous makers in Australia as they make or perhaps just because it is such a great way of joining stuff together.

I've gathered and been given some nice examples over the years and here is a selection photographed this evening on my workshop terrace. If you would like to learn some of these techniques why not join me at  Weaving by the Sea 2017

Above: Iringa basket in alternate pair and three strand twining, Tanzania.

Above: Chinese rush slippers - bought in Paris

Above: Openwork grass basket for collecting grasshoppers, Uganda. Thanks to Jette Mellgren & Jan Johansen who gave this to me during the Asante Sana project.

Above: Finely twined hat in Bear Grass and Maidenhair Fern, California. Hupa, Karok or Yurok peoples

Above: basket - perhaps California - Hupa, Karok or Yurok peoples

Above: Openwork grass glass holder - countered rows of twining with stakes lattice arranged

Above: beautiful basket from the Ye'kuana rainforest people of the Orinoco River region, Venezuela.


Twining Techniques at Barcelona Botanic Garden

Here are a few photographs of my rush twining course hosted by Barcelona Botanic Garden and organised by the Catalan Basketmakers Association in mid January. More courses are arranged for this spring and the programme can be seen here: 2016-17 Programme


'light and line' for Newcastle NSW

My new basket 'light and line' has arrived in Newcastle , New South Wales, Australia ready for the new exhibition 'Holding: Contemporary Fibre Art' at the Newcastle City Gallery selected by special guest curator Anne Kempton of Timeless Textiles.

Update 2016.12.07 The exhibition is now up and running and the online catalogue can be seen here: Holding: Interpretations of vessels by contemporary fibre artists

Some gathered thoughts for the exhibition catalogue:

Light & Line

Looking at historical baskets in museum collections frequently leads my work in new directions. Unfamiliar techniques and unusual materials draw my eye and inspire experimentation. Often in the absence of a traditional maker a desire to understand the structure and making processes can only be understood through hands on making, numerous mistakes and continued looking and reappraisal.

This basket made from plastic drinking straws and dyed fishing line combines inspirations from South African Zulu and Aboriginal Australian basket making traditions seen on recent travels and researches. While the techniques are straightforward the way the making progresses is unusual as this basket can be finished at the top or the bottom and decisions can be made at various stages of the works progression by pinching and squashing the form. In the context of the 'Holding 'exhibition I am happy that this work is made through such a manipulation of contained space. Other recent pieces have included concepts of 'folding space' as well as encircling or capturing space. 

Working with unfamiliar translucent materials encouraged me to experiment with layering weaves and playing with different amounts of opacity in the dying of the fishing line. In this basket the transparency of the stakes or straws allows the weaving structure to be clearly seen - the normally hidden is made visible.

Technique and material combine to create - I hope - a pleasing form with traditional functional references but an essentially aesthetic and delicate appearance.

Is this a useful basket? What could it be for? Why would one make such things in an age of modern materials and mechanisation? The basket asks a variety of questions and represents a snapshot from a longer continuity of making and experimentation.

Tim Johnson October 2016



Exploring Twined Structures with the Northumbrian Basketmakers

Following the excellent long weekend with the Scottish Basketmakers' Circle at Kindrogan near Pitlochry I was delighted to be invited to come and teach for the Northumbrian Basketry Group in Hepple. Whisked south (thankyou Anna!) I arrived a day early in Coquetdale and was very happy to have a day wandering the countryside on a gorgeous sunny day and revisiting places I visited in my childhood. It was a pleasure to find many plants familiar to my childhood botanising such as Purple Moor Grass, Bog Myrtle, Ling Heather and Hair Moss that have now become special to me as materials for making.

Above: Hair Moss (Polytrichum commune) on the edge of the Otterburn ranges.

The lovely old Hepple village hall - originally the primary school - provided an excellent and warm venue for teaching and making. Using two varieties of rush ( chair seating and salt) bought in for the workshop and a selection of other local and garden materials we explored different twining structures that give strength, texture and different making speeds. Defined as a weaving technique with two or more weavers travelling along together and twisting as they go locking in stakes, the twining family is very diverse with numerous variations from worldwide traditions.

Working with a special 3 part mould  we started with plain twining then moved on to further variations including alternate pair twining, chain pairing and the very attractive but long named 'chased - countered- alternate pair twining'. As the 10 participants got their fingers and minds around the different weave structures we were thoughtfully kept in good shape with a steady supply of tea, biscuits and cakes and a great atmosphere of group learning.

I ended the two day workshop with a demonstration of two variations of handles or straps that can be added to rush baskets depending on how they are to be used. Many thanks to everyone who made the workshop possible especially Charlotte Boxall who ran the event so well.

Above: Deer Sedge (Trichophorum cespitosum) at Holystone Burn Nature Reserve.

Below: Birch and Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) in Coquetdale.


Teaching for the Scottish Basketmakers' Circle, Kindrogan, October 2016

I'm home now after a great trip northwards - first to Sandown on the Isle of Wight (above) then onwards up to Perthshire in Scotland to teach for the Scottish Basketmakers' Circle's autumn meeting and then on to teach for the Northumberland Basketmakers in Hepple - whose workshop will be in my next blog post.

In the beautiful surroundings of Kindrogan Field Studies Centre (below) my class was one of three and I decided to teach an open ended class 'Bundlesticks and Freecoiling'. Participants gathered a variety of local materials and combining these with willow and rush brought in, we explored a variety of fibre preparation processes, cordage making techniques and twining structures that lead to a fantastic atmosphere focused on learning specific traditional techniques but with open ended outcomes depending on the participants wishes.

Everyone was keen to learn the finer points of palm binding cordage and mastering the ever challenging cranking of willow to make two and three ply willow ropes - so useful for the making of beautiful handles in traditional willow baskets. Makers went away with a variety of small baskets, weaving samplers, clews of cordage and bundles of materials to carry on with projects and explorations at home. Thankyou to everyone who made the event so enjoyable both from the SBC and Kindrogan staff.


The Basketmakers' Associations Challenge Cup

Correction : Apologies I made a mistake in the award that I won described in the text below - I didn't win the Basketmakers' Association Barbara Maynard Challenge Cup - but I did win the Basketmakers' Association Challenge Cup! So rather than delete all the information about Barbara Maynard I will leave as is but with this correction......

In October I attended The Basketmakers' Association AGM in London, this year the meeting was themed around rushwork with an excellent talk by rush and willow basket maker Nadine Anderson and rush technique taster workshops in the afternoon. I brought along one of my recent shoulder baskets for the competition and was delighted and suprised to win! The annual competition is the Basketmakers' Associations' Challenge Cup presented to the association by Barbara Maynard in the BA's formative years.

Barbara Maynard was first Chairman and co-founder of the Basketmakers’ Association as well as author of several basketry books including Modern Basketry from the start 1973 and Basketry Step by Step 1977 and Modern Basketry Techniques 1989. While looking a little dated now, when we have so many high quality basketry books to choose from, at the time they were useful and influencial publications.

Curious about the history of the BA and Barbara's influence I found the following passage by Lois Walpole in her article 'The Emergence of Contemporary Basketmaking in Britain' in the Basketmakers' Association 25th Anniversary Newsletter of October 2000.

"For me there is no doubt that one of the key players in the emergence of contemporary basketmaking in Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s was the City and Guilds Creative Basketmaking course and its teacher at the time, Barbara Maynard......

.......Anyone who new Barbara will remember that she was passionate about basketmaking and chair caning, and absolutely determined that the City and Guilds course, and the Basketmakers' Association, would survive and expand, so anyone that she came across who showed any ability at all was immediatly subjected to relentless pressure to enrol for the course......

......At the time Barbara felt very strongly that basket making in Britain could be revitalised, but only if it was accompanied by 'good design'. I am not sure that Barbara knew herself what form that good design would come in, and I'm not sure that she would approve of what has emerged as contemporary basketmaking in Britain, but she also disapproved of Alastair (Heseltine) and David (Drew), who she felt were just doing traditional willow work, and she was not at all keen on the sort of work that was emerging in America under the influence of people like Ed Rossbach, a textile teacher, designer and artist, He wrote a number of books. including Baskets as Textile Art......."

So with such fascinating history (and shall we say controversial opinions!) and cross references of makers contemporary and traditional I feel honoured to be the safekeeper of the Basketmakers' Associations' Barbara Maynard Challenge Cup for the coming year.

Below details of my winning shoulder basket made from Reedmace (Typha latifolia) , Lime bast and Taro root braided and stitched in the special Mediterranean 'inter-digitated' stitching technique.



Baskets from Mexico

If your passing through Barcelona this summer it's worth having a look at the small but well selected exhibition 'La creacion en el arte popular mexicano' at the Centre d'Artesania Catalunya. Alongside textiles, ceramics and metalwork there are some beautiful baskets made with a variety of natural fibres. Exhibition continues until the 4th September 2016.

Above: Tortilla Case, plaited palm by Teresa Perez Marquez from San Luis Amatlan, Oaxaca

Above & below: set of baskets for tortilla and shelling maize in liana stems, by Victor Manuel Lopez Rodriguez from Ocosingo, Chiapas

Above & below: basket, Romerillo twigs, by Teodulo Flores Vilchis, Tenancingo, Estado de Mexico

Above & below: bread basket in Sotol palm by Felipe Hernandez Camacho from El Carmen, Tequexquitla, Tlaxcala



'Cortines' project underway...

In March 2016 we started our two year project exploring the traditions and techniques of Cortines or fly screens in Catalonia. Conceived by Monica Guilera and myself as a public art project working in collaboration with a team of makers, students and artists we will work on creating a collection of contemporary curtains that will be exhibited outdoors in the doorways of Mas de Barberans during the summer of 2017.

The project is coordinated by the Museu de la Pauma in Mas de Barberans and sponsored by a host of public bodies - please see our dedicated web page for more details: Cortines: Dividing Spaces

During our first group sessions we looked at variety of natural and hand made objects with interesting and contrasting linear elements - this provided the starting point for painting and drawing experimentation. Over the coming months we will look at a variety of traditional and contemporary making techniques that will lead us on to our curtain designs.

During the project we will be identifying and harvesting local plant materials that can be used for a variety making techniques and collaborating with the members of the local palm weaving group Art Pauma.

Further information about the project may be found on the project website: Cortines: Dividing Spaces.


Hobby-Horses for Lolland

Minehead Hobby Horse circa 1900, c/o The Museum of Somerset

We are just home from our third contribution to sculpture projects in the grounds of Reventlow Museet on the Danish island of Lolland. The former home of  Danish statesman and social reformer C.D.F Reventlow the house is set in beautiful grounds which this year is home to the sculpture trail for adults and especially children 'Tur i Tiden' (tour in time) curated by the basketmakers and project curators Jette Mellgren and Jan Johansen. The Reventlow estate was formerly the home of a long tradition of horse breeding in the academic horse riding tradition and this provided us - myself and Monica Guilera - with the starting point for our contribution. Combining this local reference with inspirations from the hobby horse folk tradition widespread across Europe, we created a selection of Hobby Horses for visiting children and parents to take out for a ride. There are lots of other interactive works on the trail too so well worth a visit, continues until November.

In 2013 and 2014 we contributed the 'TheWrong Bats', 'Little Fields' and 'View Finders' to the sculpture projects at Reventlow.


of ladders...

'Skyladder' April 2011, 'Between Sea & Sky', Stige Ø, Odense, Denmark

Hazel ladders at the old studio, October 2011

'Skyladder' April 2011, 'Between Sea & Sky', Stige Ø, Odense, Denmark

'Ladder-rack' November 2010, Quay Arts, Isle of Wight, UK.

Hazel ladders on paintings, studio work in progress, January 2012.

Vine Ladders - in the kitchen, November 2013.

Vine Ladders, March 2013

Hazel frame for 'Invisible Pathways' at Briddlesford Lodge Farm, November 2014


Join me on the little island of Lyø














Over the coming weeks I have nice schedule of workshops and events coming up - one of the highlights will be teaching on the beautiful Danish island of Lyø - a neighbour of Bjørnø an island that I have taught summer schools on over the last couple of years. The course still has some places so best book soon if you are interested in a week of harvesting, fibre processing and making with a variety of techniques. The full workshop description is as follows:

Finding Fibres

Join artist and basketmaker Tim Johnson’s ‘Finding Fibres’ workshop on the beautiful island of Lyø, Denmark, during the the ‘Focus on Basketry’ Summer School, 3rd – 8th July 2016. Tim’s workshop will focus on finding, harvesting and processing a wide variety of natural materials from the island landscape of  Lyø. Many species of rushes, sedges and grasses alongside barks and plant stems can be used to create bags, baskets and sculptural forms using a variety of traditional techniques. During the week will explores rope and string making, flexable structures with looping and knotting, twining and braiding and the possibilities offered by combining soft and rigid materials.

Bring along your own tools and perhaps a camera and notebook and we will look to see what we can find, gather and create. See you in Lyø!

Booking details and prices can be found on the English and Danish website here: ‘Focus on Basketry’ Summer School.

Email me 'here' if you have any queries or would like further details, see you there!



NEW SPIRALS exhibition at the Höyry Gallery, Korpilahti, Finland

Above: 'Atoll' 2016, Tim Johnson, bamboo, sisal twine, recycled window blind.

Opening at the start of April a new exhibition 'NEW SPIRALS' by the always challenging and inspiring group of Finnish contemporary basketmakers - Anna-Maria Väätäinen, Anelma Savolainen, Minna Koskinen, and Raija Manninen at the Höyry Gallery in the town of Korpilahti near Jyvaskyla in central Finland. As a special addition to the group - myself and Monica Guilera Subirana have been invited as guests and will have three works each in the exhibition. Further photos to follow once the exhibition is open!

More gallery details here: Höyry Gallery

NEW SPIRALS, 2nd 24th April 2016

Below: 'Green Nansa' 2016, Monica Guilera Subirana, willow & twine.


Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum, NJ, USA

Above: Tim Johnson 'keeping time' basket 2016, combed reedmace.

Opening this week is the exhibition Green from the Get Go: International Contemporary Basketmakers at the Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey, USA. I'm delighted to have several new baskets in the exhibition alongside works by some of the best contemporary basketmakers around the world including such luminaries as Ed Rossbach, John McQueen, Gyöngy Laky and Dorothy Gill Barnes from the US, Dail Behennah, Lizzie Farey and Chris Drury from the UK, Jane Balsgaard  and Birigit Birkkjaer from Denmark, Markku Kosonen from Finland and Hisako Sekijima and Noriko Takamiya from Japan. The exhibition runs from March 19th to June 26th 2016 and opening times can be found on the Morris Museum website.

Curated by Jane Milosch of the Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, former curator of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Rhonda Brown and Tom Grotta of browngrotta arts the exhibition brings together makers work that reflects their close relationship with the natural world both as a source of materials and inspiration. The curators state:

"Throughout history, artists and craftspeople have been highly attuned to the beauty and resources of the natural world, whether depicting a pristine landscape, untouched by man, or harvesting plants and minerals for pigments and brushes. Sustainability is a natural part of their design and craft process. Green from the Get Go will include more than 70 works by artists from Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Scandinavia and the US, featuring innovators in the genre of 20th-century art basketry as well as emerging talents. These artists take their inspiration from nature and the history of basketry. Their work reveals a heightened sensitivity to the physicality of materials, one that honors the stewardship of nature by their choice and use of materials."

More information and a full list of makers can be found on the browngrotta arts website.

Above: Tim Johnson 'keeping time' basket 2016, reedmace.

Below: Tim Johnson 'keeping time' basket 2016, salt rush.


'Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now' at browngrotta arts

A selection of my 'keeping time' baskets are currently on show in the exhibition Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture…then and now at browngrotta arts, Wilton, Connecticut, USA. I was delighted to be invited last November to create new work for this special survey exhibition placing fibre works by leading practitioners from the 1960s pivotal to the evolution of the contemporary basketmaking and fibre art movement alongside the generation born in the 60s, including myself, that have been influenced by these makers. On browngrotta arts' arttextstyle blog my early discovery of Ed Rossbach's work is quoted:

“I am more than happy to admit the influence of makers such as Ed Rossbach, whose book, The New Basketry, I bought for the mighty sum of £1.50 when I was still a schoolboy in the 80s,” Johnson says. “While for many years the influence did not emerge in my work and I did not understand how to work with basketry techniques and materials, when I eventually started making baskets it was like coming home to the work I had always wanted to make.”

As I have just returned from a six week research and teaching trip to Australia (blog posts about the trip here soon) unfortunately I'm unable to visit the exhibition, it would certainly be a treat to see my baskets alongside works by such luminaries as Ed Rossbach, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Sheila Hicks, Masakazu Kobayashi, Lenore Tawney and Luba Krejci among many others.

My 'keeping time' baskets were first exhibited in the 2007 exhibition 'East Weaves West', curated by Mary Butcher, that brought together the work of makers from the United Kingdom and Japan. I have since exhibited different baskets of the series in a variety of venues in the UK and Europe including the piece 'Spiky Vessel' that won first prize in the contemporary category of the V International Contest of Plant Fibres at Museu de la Pauma in Mas de Barberans in Cataluña, Spain.

My 'keeping time' baskets are an evolving series, in these works I am interested in the play between vessel and surface, the particular qualities of different plant materials and the contrast of outside volume and contained space. Working on each of these baskets over several days, the careful manipulation of material - be it different kinds of rushes, grasses or flowering plants, creates different possibilities to articulate the transition from outside to inside. The contrasting textures of the apparently chaotic exterior and the carefuly woven interior creates a dialogue that excites me and pushes me forward in its exploration.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these baskets please contact browngrotta arts through my artist page here: Tim Johnson @ browngrotta arts


'Invisible Pathways' at Hop Kilns Heritage Centre

Last November I spent several weeks exploring the pastures, cow tracks, streams and pathways that make up Briddlesford Lodge Farm on the Isle of Wight.

As the farms first Artist in Residence I was invited to create the inaugural exhibition in the newly restored and architecturally re-designed Hop Kilns Heritage Centre. Using a variety of materials gathered on the farm including Butcher's Broom, Hazel, Honeysuckle, cow muck and bailer twine I created a series of suspended panels that investigated the layered history of the land's usage and geography. Black bailer twine is embroidered mapping out fields and pathways, twilled cane picks up patterns from an old winnowing fan in the heritage centre's collection and Ash twigs reference the hedgerows, hurdles and coppiceing traditions of the island.

The exhibition is now finished but some of the work will be kept on site to join the centre's collection, two further artist residencies and exhibitions will take place over the coming year.

Here's a selection of photographs documenting the project and exhibition here: 'Invisible Pathways' at The Hop Kilns Heritage Centre at Briddlesford Lodge Farm.

Thanks to Julian Winslow for the group photo of everyone involved in front of the old kilns.


Workshop updates....

Above - stitching a braided rush mat during a workshop in Fessenheim, Alsace, France, June 2014

I've been adding some upcoming workshops to my Workshops and Events page, following on from my recent post about the January twining workshop at the Odense Aftenskole I'll be teaching a couple of braiding workshops at the Museu de la Pauma in Mas de Barberans on the 1st of November and a longer more in depth workshop at West Dean College near Chichester from the 22nd to 25th January. Gathering inspiration from traditional English rush Frails and the Palm and Esparto braiding techniques of Spain I have been exploring lots of variations, patterns and textures created by combining different bundle numbers and material combinations. Expect to get to grips with 5s, 7s and 9s before you then then stitch together your own baskets and pockets.

Above and below: participants in my rush braiding workshop at the basketry festival and market in Bouxurulles, France, May 2014

Above and below: Braiders by the sea! - Weaving by the Sea 2014, Vilanova i la Geltru, Spain.


'Boat baskets' home from Frugtkurve Exhibition

My 'Boat baskets' have recently returned home from the 'Frugtkurve' exhibition in the Frilandmuseet in Maribo on the Danish island of Lolland. While I didn't get over to see this exhibition I'm sure it looked great with such a nice selection of baskets from makers living in Denmark, Spain, France, Uganda and the UK. Curated by Danish basketmaker Jette Mellgren, the exhibition celebrated the fruit growing traditions of the Maribo district.


Klaus Titze, Helle Baslund, Gitte Kjær Hansen, Annemette Hjørnholm and Jette Mellgren from Denmark
Tim Johnson from England
David Drew from France
Carlos Fontales, Lluis Grau and Monica Guilera from Spain
Simone Simons from Spain/Holland
Ester Estang and Tom Obote from Uganda

Some of my words accompanying my baskets in this exhibition:

This trio of  ‘Boat Baskets’ forms part of an ongoing series first developed when I learnt to weave two willow rods in a particular way with a retired fisherman on the Isle of Wight in 2005. Weaving ‘the breed’ holds together cleft willow rods very tightly and through trial and error I have developed this boat like form that I hope is both elegant and functional. These baskets offer me the possibility of combining two aspects of my creative practice – the harvesting and processing of a wide variety of natural materials and the use of colour and contrast that stems from my first artistic passion as a painter.

In this selection we can see cultivated willows and wild materials gathered in Norway, Australia, Spain and on the Isle of Wight. They have been cut and dried; some have been beaten, scraped, combed, spun, cooked or dyed. Developing a closer relationship with specific plants and harvesting places is an enriching experience and I hope some of my enjoyment and satisfaction in their making is transmitted to those who use them.

Tim Johnson. June 2014

Willow – large year old willow rods from my withy bed are cleft three ways and shaved down to my required thickness on a shavehorse, the bark is peeled away and woven back into the baskets. Barks from different species give different textures.

Juniper and Cedar bark are harvested at the right season and contrast textures with the willow bark.

Hair Moss – carefully gathered in Norwegian forests this fine fibre has been used for thousands of years.

Galingale – an uncommon species of rush is beaten and combed.

Soft Rush is processed and spun into cordage.

Date Palm – flower stems and leaflets give very different textures.

King Palm – a giant leaf sheath from this Australian species gives ribbed textures.

Cordyline – an Australian species gathered from my local botanic garden

Below - a selection of 'Boat Baskets' in my solo exhibition 'I am here now', Landscape Works 1993 - 2013 part of the Earagail Arts Festival 2013 in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland


Rush Twining and Fishtrap technique workshops - off to Denmark in January.....

Details are now confirmed for my next basketmaking workshop in Denmark at the award winning Odense Aftenskole next January. Hosted by our good friends Jan Johansen and Jette Mellgren I will be teaching Rush twining techniques while my partner Monica Guilera will be teaching Mediterranean Nansa Fishtrap technique. Booking through the Odense Aftenskole website.

Course details:

Twined Rush Basketmaking with Tim Johnson

17th and 18th January 2015

Twining is a large family of weaving techniques that can be found around the world in many cultures, with archaelogical evidence from at least 9300 BC it is also one of the most ancient. Tim Johnson has been practising and researching these techniques over several years and enjoys the wide variety of textures and patterns that can be created.

Working with Rush and other soft materials we will explore various twining techniques including alternate pair twining and the special patterns created by chasing and countering weaving pairs. Expect to make one or two baskets, mats or wall pieces.

Language of the course will be English.

Beginners and more advanced basketmakers welcome.

Mediterranean Nansa Fish Trap Technique with Mònica Guilera

17th and 18th January 2015

The Mediterranean is home to a beautiful and distinctive technique of weaving used by fishermen to make a variety of fishing baskets and traps. In Catalonia ‘Nansa’ fishtraps were made in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the kind of fish they wanted to catch, the traps were usually made in the winter with a very tough kind of rush (Juncus acutus) as well as split cane (Arundo donax) and olive stems.

In this workshop you will learn to make a ‘cofe’, a round basket that was used to place the fishing lines and hooks in preparation for line fishing.  This basket will give you a good grounding in this very special technique based on triangles and you will with willow in combination with a variety of colourful threads and strings.

Languages of the course will be English, Spanish or French.

Beginners and more advanced basketmakers welcome.


'View Finders'

As I prepare for forthcoming projects this autumn - first a little catching up with some over the past year.

'View Finders' is a series of woven frames created by myself and my partner Monica Guilera as part of the outdoor sculpture project 'NATUR-lighed' celebrating the Romantic period landscaping of Reventlow Park on the island of Lolland, Denmark.

The project was curated and coordinated by Jette Mellgren and Jan Johansen and included the following participants: Spencer Jenkins (UK), Karin van der Molen (NL), Joan Farré Oliver & Carlos Fontales (Sp), Tim Johnson (UK) & Monica Guilera (Sp) and from Denmark Britt Smelvær, Palle Lindau & Anne Højstrup, Kristoffer & Mette Glyholt, Klaus Titze and Jan Johansen & Jette Mellgren.

Full gallery of our work here : 'Viewfinders' and more information on curator Jette Mellgren's blog: 'NATUR-lighed'.

View Finders

NATUR-lighed 15th May - 15th September, Reventlow Park, Lolland, Denmark

During the 18th century Reventlow Park was designed under the influence of the Romantic movement dictating what was understood as an ideal picturesque landscape. Referencing the history of landscape design, painting and photography this series of woven willow and timber structures provide alternative possibilities to framing the changing landscape through the hours of the day and seasons of the year.

The weaving technique of these pieces has been inspired by an agricultural tool traditionally used in the northern half of Spain, dragged behind a horse the roughly made fence like panel would break up the soil after ploughing.