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Get weaving at the Basketry and Beyond Festival 2013

Who would have thought that the Basketry and Beyond Festival 2013, hosted in the grounds of historic Dartington Hall near Totnes,  could be so entertaining!
It’s hard to imagine that basket-making can actually occupy a whole weekend of events, but it certainly does. The imaginative organisers of the Basketry and Beyond Festival 2013 will keep families and crafters fully entertained from Friday 17th May to Sunday 19th May. The event takes place on the Dartington Estate, part of which includes historic . It is about three miles from Totnes in South Devon.

What’s going on at the Basketry Festival?

Attracting basket makers from all over the UK and beyond, this event includes a craft and produce market, informative seminars, illustrated talks and family craft activities. Live music, a parade, Ceilidh and local food and drink make this a thoroughly entertaining and unique weekend.

The theme of the festival is Fishing, Farming and Fashion. Baskets still have plenty of uses in the Westcountry, from tableware to housing bees and catching crabs. The starts on Friday afternoon, 17th May, 2013 at 2pm and finally packs up around 5pm on the following Sunday. There will be plenty of talented craftspeople demonstrating the contemporary practice of basketmaking.

Don’t miss the Light Fantastic Wearable Basketry Parade!

“What should I wear?” I hear you ask. Well, anything with a basketry theme would allow you to join in the Light Fantastic Wearable Basketry Parade! If you’ve nothing suitable, then just enjoy watching the imaginative garb that other participants manage to create from a few sticks of willow, cane, rattan or sea grass.

The parade will take place in the mediaeval courtyard setting of Dartington Hall on Sunday afternoon. Look out for some fetching headgear, for sure. Entries will certainly provide a talking point!

If you don’t know how to begin to make a basket, or perhaps want to learn some more advanced techniques, there will be drop-in workshops for children and adults covering beginners and more advanced basket making skills. There are plenty of stands too, where you can buy baskets, tools, materials and books.

The Festival really encourages visitors to get into the spirit and have-a-go! You can book a course in advance with one of the master craftsmen or just turn up and enjoy the fun. Beginners can make a simple round platter basket while more experienced basket-makers can try the challenging Perigord style of basket making which requires you to hold 100 willow rods in one hand.

More inspiration can be found at the exhibition entitled “From Bare Stems”. This exhibition of wicker and basketry shows both traditional and contemporary items with information about the techniques and materials used.

Beautiful Dartington Hall Estate

This exhibition is in the modernist building of High Cross House, which is a property frequently used for exhibitions and art-themed events adjoining the Dartington Hall Estate. The exhibition continues after the Basketry and Beyond Festival until 1st June 2013.

I frequently enjoy the circular walk up to the Dartington Hall Estate by parking at the Cider Press Shops at Dartington. Walk up the hill past the primary school and make a right just before St Mary’s Church. After about a mile you come to . Continue to the top of the hill where a gate leads into the lovely estate gardens. Walk past the historic Hall building and down Dartington Lane on the other side. At the bottom of the hill, turn right along the footpath beside the Bidwell Brook and return back to the Cider Press.

For refreshments, the food and drink from the is always superb. Run by the Dartington Hall Trust, this onsite pub has an excellent menu of local food, priced to attract the many international art students on the campus. I love to sit outside on the picnic tables with a salad, or take a drink and sit beneath the spreading trees on the lawn if it’s a sunny day.

Do you know Dartington Hall as a local or perhaps as a student? Have you attended any of the arts festivals held each year in the lovely estate grounds? Please contribute your experiences by commenting in the box below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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