How to make

There are various methods of weaving a basket. Some materials lend themselves to particular methods more than others. Straw for example is a soft material and is often used in a coiled basket. Willow has much more strength and can be used as part of the structure with thinner willow weavers filling in as well. Willow is unlikely to be used in a coiled basket but will be used in creels, stake and strand, and frame baskets.    


In Orkney small baskets called cubbies were made from heather or sometimes softer materials like straw and rush were used. Alisdair Davidson describes making a heather cubbie by starting with the base with pairs of rods (of heather) which become …Continue reading “Cubbies”

Landing Baskets

On the Isle of Arran in the 80’s and 90’s Alisdair Davidson along with Henry Mellor had a contract to make Landing Baskets for the docks at Grimsby. They often made up to fifty a month. These baskets were made …Continue reading “Landing Baskets”

‘How to Make’ Handouts by Alisdair Davidson

Alisdair Davidson spent several years making replicas of traditional Scottish Baskets. Here are some of the handouts he used when teaching others the techniques for frame baskets and back creels

Creels of Lewis. A comparison of techniques and materials

Creel, mixed dark cane and willow, Ness, Lewis

Westside creels (Shawbost, Barvas, Tolsta Chaolais) Donald Macarthur of Shawbost taught me creel making and his creels are based on his father’s methods. See earlier post on Back/Pony Creels in this section of ‘How to make’ . Malcolm Macarthur was …Continue reading “Creels of Lewis. A comparison of techniques and materials”


  Kishie Materials There are basically only two functions required of kishie making materials: The first material must be suitable to twine into a rope that has a suitable combination of strength and durability whilst still retaining a pliable quality. …Continue reading “Kishies”

Curling Baskets

In order to give this basket the strength required to carry approx. 40lbs the slath sticks also form the stakes and the border! My attempt to make the basket in the late 1990’ies was not entirely successful partly due to …Continue reading “Curling Baskets”

Coiled Baskets

Coiling. Jimmy Work, Shetland 2007

These baskets are made by stitching around a wad of material that is constantly being added to. This addition is to maintain an even coil. The basket starts with the base and then pushing the coils upwards creates the sides. …Continue reading “Coiled Baskets”

Stake and Strand Basketry

  This is a more complicated construction than coiling or frame basketry. According to Willeke Wendrich, Professor of Egyptian Archealogy and Digital Humanities, University of California, this basketry form was originally developed by the Romans. It does involve several different …Continue reading “Stake and Strand Basketry”

Frame Baskets

  These baskets are usually started with the making of the hoop that is the top of the basket. This hoop can be of any shape. Generally baskets of this type have a round or oval hoop. This hoop is …Continue reading “Frame Baskets”

Back/Pony Creels

This section includes a DVD of Donald MacDonald making a creel and a step by step guide based on the techniques of Donald Macarthur. Both of the Isle of Lewis and both now no longer with us. Creels have their …Continue reading “Back/Pony Creels”