Alexandra James – basketmaker

3rd July 2013  |  ALUMNI | AWARD WINNERS

Winner of the 2012 HCA/NADFAS Heritage Crafts Bursary

In 2012, over £4,000 was awarded to Alexandra James, to learn further skills in basketry.

It was a difficult decision as many of the short list were well deserving of the prize and would have made worthy winners. However, the HCA and NADFAS were delighted to be able to support Alex and felt that her enthusiasm and passion made her a very good advocate for heritage crafts.

Alex is based on the Isle of Mull and has been weaving, and teaching others how to weave, large scale willow structures for a number of years. After a career break, Alex returned to willow and planned on setting herself up as a basket maker on Mull. The island has not had a professional basket maker for many years. In particular, Alex wanted to make the more technically difficult square baskets.  Alex is largely self taught but for the trickier aspects of square basketmaking she felt it wasn’t working learning from books.

After some research, Alex found someone who could teach her the skills she needed. However there was a major snag – he was based in Norfolk. Luckily, the HCA NADFAS heritage crafts bursary enabled Alex to cover her training, materials and travel.