Hilary Burns basket base

Hilary Burns


I became interested in basketry forty years ago when I signed up for a one-day-a-week City and Guilds course in London. I was trained in textiles and working as a weave technician and woven fabric designer. Four years on, though, I was still hooked on what basketry had to offer.

I was looking for techniques to use for sculptural pieces but soon came to like the range of materials and processes involved in their preparation. On moving to Devon, I planted a willow bed that I harvest, grade, bundle and dry every year to use in my work.

In 2003, Geraldine Jones and I founded the not-for-profit company Basketry and Beyond to promote different basketry techniques that interest us. Over the years we have travelled to different places, held courses and arranged festivals.

I have curated exhibitions, been involved in research projects, especially ‘Basketry Then and Now, through the Everyday Lives in War centre at the University of Hertfordshire and written about textiles and basketry. I am interested in fibre and the way it is used to construct three dimensional forms. This project is a way for me to explore ideas in a different way.

I am a yeoman of The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, a member of the Devon Guild and Author of Cane, Rush and Willow, weaving with natural materials.