Thursday, 29 March 2018

Twining by the Sea

Wow! - that was quick, booking for Weaving by the Sea 2018 has been swift this year - perhaps the winter weather that has swept over Europe has quickened our thoughts for a break in the warmer climes of Vilanova I La Geltru next autumn. 

Springtime is definately with us now with Vilanova's vineyards full of Wild Rocket flowers (above) and early flowering Eucalyptus and Grevillea making a good show in Barcelona Botanic Garden (below). 

Most of our Weaving by the Sea 2018 courses are sold out with waiting lists but please be in touch if you would like to be kept informed of any places that may become available.

We still have a couple of places free on Tim's Twining in World Traditions course that proved so enjoyable last year. As usual Tim will bring along many twined baskets from his wide ranging collection from around the world, this is always a great inspiration and source for understanding technique variations and the possibilities offered by combining different materials. 

What will you discover?  Which basket will you take home?

Further details and booking information here: Courses and Booking 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

New for 2018 - Free Yoga Sessions

New for Weaving by the Sea 2018 we are offering two free yoga sessions, lead by our good friend and professional yoga tutor Sara of the Yoga Studio in Vilanova i La Geltru, the sessions will be before breakfast and the basketmaking classes on Saturday 29th September and Wednesday 3rd October.

Keep those fingers nimble, shoulders relaxed and mind, body and spirit in good shape to make the most of your Weaving by the Sea learning experience! 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Weaving by the Sea 2018 - open for booking!

We are delighted to open the booking for Weaving by the Sea 2018 - Monica, Mai and Tim offer six residential courses combining traditional and contemporary basketmaking in Vilanova I La Geltru, Catalonia, Spain between the 28th September and 4th October 2018 - just before the International Basketmaker's Fair in Salt near Girona.

This years selection includes new courses including Contemporary Netting and Knotting, Openwork Oval Baskets and Lidded Baskets in the Catalan Rural Tradition alongside our ever popular courses in Mediterranean Nansa Fish Trap Technique, Catalan with a Twist and Twining in World Traditions.

All the course details can be found on our bookings page here: Workshops and Booking 2018

See you at Weaving by the Sea! 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Winter Light and dates for your diary..

As we reflect back on Weaving by the Sea 2017 and make our plans for 2018 it's nice to enjoy some of the winter light here in Vilanova I La Geltru, Catalonia, Spain. Although our winters don't seem to be as quiet as they used to be, it's still a good time for gathering thoughts and inspirations. With all kinds of winter weather I've been studying the lines and light of the seashore - constantly changing and elusive when trying to capture it's nature in an image - how the pictures will infuse my work I'm not sure but It's a pleasure to follow my instinct even with cold soggy feet!

Our workshop details will be announced shortly - in the meantime hold the dates in your diary - Weaving by the Sea 2018 teaching dates will be Friday - Sunday 28th -30th September and Tuesday -Thursday 2nd - 4th October followed by Salt Basket Fair on Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th October. More details soon!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Last minute vacancies....

Due to a couple of last minute cancellations we now have single vacancies on each of two workshops at Weaving by the Sea 2017. If you are interested to join us please contact Mai at  as soon as possible as the places are sure to go quickly!

Prices are 235 € per course plus accomodation at the Cesar Hotel, Vilanova I La Geltru - further information on the workshop detail page.

We have one place on Mai's first course:

29th, 30th September & 1st October 
Texture and Structure - Explore weaving structures to create texture in your willow baskets.
with Mai Hvid Joergensen
Working with a variety of willows and Mediterranean materials such as olive and date palm, you will explore the variety of textures and patterns created by different weaving techniques and structures. Starting with round and oval bases, participants will have the opportunity to learn a variety of weaves such as Herringbone and Zig-Zag Weave, French Randing and the traditional Irish 'Donkey Windows'. These techniques may be used to create a variety of beautiful baskets and bags for functional and decorative use.

Mai is an experienced maker and tutor and is happy to cater for both beginners and more advanced students on a variety of projects.
Languages of the course will be English, Danish and Norwegian.

and one place on Monica's:

29th, 30th September & 1st October 
Catalan Cove - Fisherman's Landing Basket & Catalan Traditional Baskets
with Monica Guilera
Catalan basketmaking is a distinctive craft tradition that has fulfilled everyday needs of the Catalan people for centuries. Rooted in this distinctive local tradition this basket was used in Vilanova i La Geltru and along the Catalan coastline by fisherman to land their catches. Combining an unusual willow base with either willow or cane sidings, a three bundle rope border and two handles, this attractive basket will introduce many of the locally specific techniques whilst making a very useful household basket. 

Alongside the Catalan Cove workshop participants may also opt for a variety of other traditional pieces with the classic combination of Catalan base, rope border and a variety of handles. 

Some experience of working with willow is required for this course. 
Languages of the course will be English, Catalan, Spanish and French.

See you soon at Weaving by the Sea 2017!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Which basket will you take home?

Which basket will you take home? At Weaving by the Sea 2017 Monica Guilera will focus on two great traditional baskets used by fishermen along the Catalan coastline. The first of these is the Catalan Cove  - Fisherman's landing basket that was made in a variety of sizes according to the catch and made with whole and split willow. One of the special features of this strong and economically made baskets is the now rarely seen cross base - also called the 'donkey base' - not because it was used for donkey baskets as you might think but because it was 'every day' and - apologies to the donkeys - quite simple! Simple in structure though it may be - compared to the well known Catalan and French bases that followed, the donkey base is very attractive and like the Catalan base has the great benefit of adding all the stakes right from the beginning.

Fishermen would unload their catches with these baskets forming chains of men walking up the beach to market their fish. We hope to re-enact this at the end of the course this year!

During our second week of courses Monica will teach the beautiful Fisherman's Nansa basket used by fishermen to carry their lunch, tools and whatever else they needed for a good day's fishing. During the course you will personalise your basket with your choices of colour and proportion.

Twining in World Traditions and Flexible Basketry Structures with Tim Johnson

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

Now that all our courses for Weaving by the Sea 2017 are organised and online we can share with you some of the ideas and inspirations behind the workshops to come. Tim has already posted some images on his website here: ....some of my favourite baskets are twined featuring beautiful twined baskets from around the world which will be the inspiration for his course Twining in World Traditions , and no doubt on Tim's travels in Australia this spring he will continue to gather inspiration, samples and some of the extraordinary stories and making details that are densely woven into the diverse aboriginal twining tradition. 

Twining traditions exist all around the globe and the technique combined with the specifics of local materials have, over thousands of years, solved a huge variety of practical needs including gathering, winnowing, trapping, storage, costume and decoration. This adaptable technique offers the contemporary maker with one of the most useful joining techniques and all kinds of materials may be woven together utilising it's innate strength. 
Many baskets combine a variety of techniques and do not fit neatly into categorised collections. Above two related baskets used for sieving grain and flour combine coiling - to make a strong container and means of holding while sieving, and twined openwork bases to create a mesh to allow sifting.The top one is from Italy while the bottom one with extra fine alternate pair twining is made by the Oromo people of Ethiopia.

The special basket below while similar in form to the sieves above was used along the Catalan coastline to hold baited fishing longlines, while not twined this piece combines a braided esparto border with knotted netting which will feature in Tim's first course Flexible Basketry Structures - looping, netting and knotting.