2017 – to date

Hilary is taking part in Forces in Translation,  a collaboration between anthropologist Stephanie Bunn, mathematician Ricardo Nemirovsky, technological anthropologist Cathrine Hasse and basketmakers Geraldine Jones, Hilary Burns and Mary Crabb. It is a Royal Society/Apex funded project.

Forces in Translation works at the interface between basketry, mathematics and anthropology. We explore how the bodily knowledge in basket-weaving enhances spatial and geometric understanding through the gestural moves we make and bodily skills we use. The making process, from material to artefact, from plant to basket, further reveals important links with innovative and design thinking, from planning and problem-solving, to dexterity, attention focus and creating narratives. This has relevance for education, spatial awareness, geometric understanding, and creativity

Current themes include the relationship between form and material; curvature, line and diagramming; techniques and perception – from weaving and looping to plaiting; understanding difference; and rhythm and narrative


Interior Design

Chair seats in collaboration with Ambrose Vevers.




Woven panels for interior. Dartmouth. Willow, split willow, split bramble in walnut doors. Commissioned by Field Day Studio. Joinery by ShawStephens



Basketry Then and Now – Everyday Lives in War

Hilary was co-manager for the Basketry Then and Now project, based at the University of Hertfordshire. It was established for the purpose of researching, co-producing and engaging in activities to explore the importance of basketry and willow to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the country during the First World War, and to examine the long-term legacy in terms of intangible cultural heritage and landscape change. Research themes included the importance of basketmaking in the military effort (e.g. shell baskets, pigeon carriers, aircraft seats, stretchers); the therapeutic use of basketmaking during the conflict; and the significance of basketmaking in everyday life during the period 1914-1919 (including consideration of regional and local traditions).

The project team of researchers re-created craft skills involved in the basketry of the First World War period, as well as expressing in artistic terms, through basketry, the stories of everyday lives during the war, and issues of legacy, emotion, and memory. In addition, the project aimed to explore the value of willow as a sustainable material through a historical perspective; a contribution to the notion of ‘low carbon pasts, low carbon futures’ developed by the Heritage Hub at the University of Hertfordshire.

Image courtesy of the Kingsbury Time Travelers

British Museum

 Bust created for the Sonnetathon, the 400th Shakespeare anniversary event at the British Museum
Commissioned by London florists fbombe

british museum

Museum of English Rural Life

Hilary was one of the participants in the Stakeholders project 2013-2014. The Museum of English Rural Life has one of the most significant collections of British basketry in the UK, with over 620 baskets, basketwork objects and basketmaking tools. The project encouraged knowledge and skills sharing between established and up-and-coming basket makers. Each of the participants was commissioned to make a basket or piece of basketwork to be accessioned into the Museum collection.

Hilary receives the Heritage Craft Association’s ‘Maker of the Year 2018’ award, from Alexander Langlands