Courses 2018

Learn with Hilary

Weave a simple round basket in willow

The Great Hall, Hannah’s at Seale Hayne, Howton Lane, Newton Abbot TQ12 6NQ, Devon

One-day course

28th April 2018

9.30 – 5pm. £45.00 includes materials and tea/coffee.  The Bistro is open for lovely lunches.

Suitable for complete beginners.

Please book by contacting Hilary through the contact page for this website.

On this one-day course you will learn the basics of making a round basket, using willow from the Somerset Levels and from Hilary’s own willow beds.

This course is taking place alongside an exhibition “For the Healing of the Mind”  “The remarkable story of Seale-Hayne Military Hospital”.  During the First World War Seale Hayne was used as a military hospital. Severely shell-shocked soldiers were treated by Dr Arthur Hurst. After regaining the use of their limbs and speech and as an essential part of their recovery,they undertook classes in basketry and ceramics, and worked outdoors helping with farm work in a peaceful  rural setting. Participating in the orchestra, and painting classes were also on offer. Seale-Hayne is now the home of Dame Hannah Rogers charity.

The exhibition dates are 21st to 29th April. A demonstration of basketmaking and hands-on participatory activities will take place on 21st April. A display of baskets made by students will be on show and for sale during the exhibition.

The basketry class at Seale-Hayne when it was a military hospital during WW1. Copyright The Seale-Haynians






Weave your own foraging basket

Chicken Shed Studio, Schumacher College, Dartington, Devon

Two-day course

14/15 April 2018

Saturday 9.30am – 5pm . Sunday 9am – 4pm.   £150 bring your own packed lunch

Make your own lovely foraging basket to take gathering in hedgerows and woods. Learn the ancient craft of willow weaving on this two day course in the capable hands of master craftswoman Hilary Burns. The size and complexity you will achieve will depend on whether you are a complete beginner or have some previous experience of the craft.

Hilary Burns is a basket maker and founder of the ‘Basketry & Beyond’ Festival, and is a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the New Craftsmen. Having originally trained in textiles, she initially began making baskets in London using recycled material. Moving to Devon thirty years ago, Hilary became interested in using natural and sustainable materials – namely willow – and currently grows a collection of many different varieties on the Dartington estate. Between November and March, Hilary harvests the crops, drying the rods and re-soaking for weaving as required throughout the year.

Her basketwork is based on traditional techniques used in a contemporary way, using heavy willow to give her pieces a robust, chunky and natural looking style. Beginners and those with some experience are welcome on this course.

For more information, please email:

To book please visit the website:

Round willow market basket

The Old Kennels, Stentwood, Dunkeswell EX14 4RW

Two-day course

Thursday 5th & Friday 6th July 2018

£135.00 plus materials (approx £20)


Make a pleasing round basket with a central handle or side handles using brown willow from the Somerset levels and coloured bark willow from Hilary’s own collection. You may choose to make a basket suitable for harvesting fruit, gathering vegetables or to hold your knitting depending on your preference for shape and purpose. More complex weaves may be incorporated if you have already done some making and are familiar with the basics of English basketry techniques. Beginners and those with some basket making experience are welcome on this course.

To book please visit or ring 01823 681138


Weave a frame basket in London (Selvedge Magazine course)

One-day course at The Artworkers’s Guild, 6 Queen Street, London

20th |October 2018

 11-5, £128 included materials and light refreshments.

11am – 5pm   £128 including materials and light refreshments. This workshop is suitable for beginners

Hilary has been making, teaching and writing about basketry for over thirty years. She grows her own materials, a collection of coloured bark willows, in Devon as well as incorporating other natural materials into her work. Her baskets are contemporary in style and she uses a mix of techniques acquired from her travels and research into the craft. As well as using basketry in a functional way she is interested in how the skills may be transferred to other craft disciplines.

Taking a simple structure, Hilary will show you how to weave a frame basket. You will learn to secure the hoops and incorporate the ribs, manipulate the materials, and explore the natural colours of different varieties of willow, to achieve, by the end of the workshop, a satisfying and useful object. Having learnt the basics of the technique, you will appreciate how this style of making lends itself to variations of form and complexity of weave. This type of basketmaking was, in the past, commonly practiced by traveling people and woodsmen with access to wild or hedgerow materials. Seemingly simple, it is an exercise in judgement and balance. Warning: knifework is involved.

Students should wear comfortable clothes, Hilary will bring the materials ready prepared. If you have your own pair of sharp secateurs and/or a sharp Opinel knife that you like to work with, please do bring it along.

This workshop is suitable for beginners.

To book: on the Selvedge website

(please note that the image of the white picnic basket on the Selvedge website is not what you will be making)