In 2007 Basketry and Beyond’s Bamboozle – Bridge the Gap festival took place in Porthleven, Cornwall.

The festival was designed around highlighting skills associated with split wood basketry and the use of bamboo both locally and internationally.

Bamboo fans bridge the gap 

Geraldine Jones and Hilary Burns project managed a ten day event in June that brought together artists, architects and master craftsmen to provide displays of refreshingly innovative structures, constructions and demonstrations of basketry using bamboo and other materials able to be split and woven.

Tetrahedrons abounded: Giant bamboo capsule, a constructional inspiration from India


New Delhi architect Pradeep Sachdeva from Windmill Designs and Johnny Allen from Auroville, Tamil Nadu, joined forces with Colombian structural engineer David Trujillo and local participants to create a kinetic ‘bridge’ using 18’ large diameter bamboos to span the harbour entrance. This project was supported by a grant from CFF Community Futures and was included in the national Architecture Week programme.

Some of the bridge builders

The event also showcased an installation by British artist, Lee Dalby, using equally tall but lesser diameter, locally grown bamboos to make a bamboo igloo.

The ‘igloo’  of split bamboo under construction

The ‘igloo’ on the recreation ground

At the other end of the scale, master craftsman Mitsuki Fujiwara travelled from Japan to demonstrate the use of finely split and woven bamboo. A week of courses run by tutors from the UK, Europe and Japan supported the festival.

Bamboo baskets by Mitsuki Fujiwara and materials for the course

Further uses of split indigenous woods were profiled by other practitioners in demonstrations during the festival, at courses before and after the weekend.

John Carnell constructs a traditional Sussex trug

Jamin Uticone pounds an American ash log into splints to make his beautiful Shaker tradition baskets.

Josep Mercader constructs a basket for fish using the ‘nassa’ technique

Two exhibitions curated by Hilary Burns supported the festival themes:

Detail of a fitched tray by Jenny Crisp

Split Ends’ at Cornwall Crafts Association Gallery, Trelowarren

Basketry Traditions Today’ at Godolphin House, nr Helston.

Members of the Worshipful Company prepare to join the procession

In the afternoon members of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers in their livery, children carrying star lanterns and playing bamboo instruments and local residents created a procession round the harbour.

Duo at the procession

Processing the star lanterns to the sea

At dusk and despite the rain, the lanterns were floated out to sea, accompanied on the shakuhachi (bamboo flute) by Mike McInerney, to culminate the festival weekend.