Last month I was invited down to Surrey to teach a group of fine furniture makers how to make ash splint baskets. Aidan Turner runs a school for aspiring furniture makers and wanted the course to broaden the students’ experience and introduce them to other interesting materials.
Aidan had sourced a lovely ash log locally so the first morning was spent with me showing them how to pound a log to delaminate the growth rings and produce splints. We took turns in pounding and also riving down the thicker material to make splints suitable for weaving.
Once we had a good amount of splints and had warmed up from the work we set about making the basket. Aidan and I agreed that, when learning, it’s useful to have a relatively simple project so that you can concentrate on the processes and techniques involved. It was interesting for all of us to see how the furniture makers, used to working with boards and to very fine tolerances, approached the different skills required in basket making. I’m looking forward to seeing how they take this forward and incorporate it into their other work.
I teach ash splint basket making courses around the UK, details on my courses page. I can also teach your group at your own venue, please email me with your enquiry steve[at]stevetomlincrafts.co.uk