Neolithic Braiding on Spalted Hornbeam


Neolithic Braiding on Spalted Hornbeam 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 a contemporary basket inspired by the traditional Swiss basket made from Clematis stems. Usually carried on the shoulder, this basket has a flat wooden base. She utilises Neolithic weaving techniques, known to have been used by our ancestors for over 7,000 years. Lisa feels a deep sense of connection while repeating the same hand movements of previous generations. The spalted hornbeam, which forms the base of the basket, comes from a local wood yard, which gathers fallen and damaged trees across London and processes them, to reduce waste as much as possible.

Material: Spalted hornbeam, jute , cane, willow
cm: Width 34cm, Depth 23cm, Height 36cm
inches: Width 13.4in, Depth 9.1in, Height 14.2in
Care Instructions Dust with a lint free cloth
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As she settles into a rhythmic flow of making, Lisa listens to the natural materials and allows them to direct the final results. She uses a Neolithic weaving technique that can only be found on a longitudinal line through Western Europe and Africa. Lisa cut and drilled the semi-circular base with her hand tools, then steam bent the dark willow handle, fixing it to the base. This forms the frame on which to hold the jute 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.