Alison Dickens

homeware and textiles


Alison makes organic, sculptural forms in willow. Her vessel forms and basketmaking technique seek to convey something from the landscape beyond her normally urban life, and the natural processes that form it. She is drawn to the wide-open spaces of dales, moors and marshes; places high up or out on the edge, scoured by weather or swept by the sea. She is inspired by the forms and patterns made by water, wind and wave, in short time or over long age.
Alison found basketmaking after a career in urban regeneration and loved it instantly. Since then she has taken courses with well-known basketmakers and trained for two years on the City Lit Basketry Course, completing in 2017. She moved to Cockpit Arts in 2019 after winning the Cockpit Arts/ Worshipful Company of Basketmaker’s award, 2019.
She has exhibited at Flow Gallery, Chelsea Flower Show, Ruthin Craft Centre, Casavells (Barcelona), and as part of ‘The Natural Room’ at Sarah Myerscough Gallery for London Craft Week


I use a variety of willow bought mainly from growers on the Somerset levels and harvested locally in Kent and Sussex. My baskets are made using the rope coil technique, which involves adding a new rod at every stroke and weaving with a bundle of willow. The technique is slow and time-consuming and uses a lot of willow, but I love the sense of movement it creates and feel it best evokes the landscape forms and forces that guide me. There's an almost visceral feeling that comes when I work with the willow and feel the tension in the rods as they bend, as I curve and stroke and coax them into shape with my hands; balancing what it is willing to give with where I would like it to go. A contest or a dance? Certainly, the material is alive, has its own properties and prohibitions. And working with them, I weave a form, a little different every time, a reflection of our material negotiation.


    • Winner of Basketmakers’ Award 2019


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