Neolithic Braiding (Dark and Light)


Neolithic Braiding (Dark & Light) by Lisa Atkin is part of the ‘Plant Explorations’ collection, facilitated by The New Craftsmen. Earlier this year, The New Craftsmen invited a select group of craftspeople to the Economic Botany Collections at Kew Gardens to examine and creatively respond to a myriad of objects and their narratives. The collection delves into humanity’s ever resourceful and ingenious making traditions with plants. Lisa has created contemporary baskets using Neolithic weaving techniques, known to have been used by our ancestors for over 7,000 years. Reflecting on our human relationship with nature, Lisa feels a deep sense of connection while repeating the same hand movements of previous generations. She works in tune with the land, foraging materials found locally to create her sculptural basketry, combining ancient techniques with her own contemporary ideas and expression.

Material: Foraged coppiced wood (most likely Willow and Poplar), Cane, Hemp.
cm: Width 37cm, Depth 18cm, Height 30cm
inches: Width 14.6in, Depth 7.1in, Height 11.8in
Care Instructions Dust with a lint free cloth


As she settles into a rhythmic flow of making, Lisa listens to the natural materials and allows them to direct the final results. Whilst walking the grounds of her local park, Lisa stumbled across a huge pile of coppiced wood in which she selected two branches to form the sculptural legs of the piece. One of the foraged branches began to peel as she was working, whereas the bark on the other remained intact, giving the legs a contrasting ‘dark and light’ effect.

Lisa uses a Neolithic weaving technique that can only be found on a longitudinal line through Western Europe and Africa. The foraged wood is carved with hand tools to form the frame on which to hold the basket, which is handwoven in the Neolithic braiding style. The wood is left untreated to showcase its natural beauty and will develop its own character with age.
The Maker Lisa Atkin Basket Maker - London

Lisa Atkin is a contemporary and sculptural basket maker, working both from her studio at Cockpit, and in Epping Forest, near her home in East London. Lisa worked with stained glass for almost 20 years but was introduced to basketry in 2016 and it has altered her path ever since. She studied basketry with the City Lit and was a runner up in the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers Basket of The Year 2020. She then went on to win the Cockpit & Worshipful Company of Basketmakers Award 2021 - 2022. Alongside some of Britain’s finest heritage and contemporary basketmakers, Lisa most recently exhibited in Basketry: Rhythm, Renewal and Reinvention at Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales.