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Cane & Rush Chair Seating - two day course

Cane & Rush Chair Seating - two day course

Course Provider: Assington Mill

Contact Name: Anne Holden

Telephone: 01787 229955

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Assington Mill
CO10 5LZ

Course Length: Two days (10-4.30)

Price: £205

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Course Start Dates
Saturday 22nd September 2018


Cane & Rush Chair Seating
Date: 22 September 2018 - 23 September 2018
Tutor: Mary Butcher

This is an opportunity to learn the craft of chair seating using natural materials with Mary Butcher, a well-known and very experienced basket-maker. Click on her name above to see more about her. Once you have done one, you will have a good idea of how to do others. We will probably cut the rushes from the River Stour nearby, and then they have to be dried and prepared, so please let us know when you book which materials you need, i.e. cane, rush, Danish cord or seagrass.


This chair seating course will increase knowledge of cane or rush seating and is suitable for beginners or those who wish to improve skills already held. You can choose which material you use by bringing an appropriate chair. In general caning needs a chair with holes spaced near the edge of the wooden seat frame, rush needs a frame that has raised corners.

Beginners may complete one small rush dining chair or make good progress towards completion of a caned bedroom chair and reach a stage where they can easily finish at home. Trapezium-shaped seats are the best shape to learn on if you can find a suitable chair. Anything with curves is a bit more complicated. Those with experience can bring a chair they need help with.

It is essential to bring your own chair. Cane and rushes are provided for the course. Chairs may also be seated with Danish cord, or Seagrass provided you inform the tutor at least one week in advance.

Please note: old seating must be fully removed and if necessary the chair frame should be repaired, polished or painted before coming to the course, as this cannot be done easily after the cane or rush is woven in. There are no facilities for repair during the course.

For caning: the old cane should be cleared from the frames by cutting the cane strands underneath, and knocking out the pegs from the underside. lf it is found that some pegs have been glued in, they should be drilled out with a small hand drill, taking great care not to damage the wood, The old caning should be kept as entire as far as possible and brought to the course to use as a reference while weaving.

The six-way standard method of caning will be taught unless you prefer to learn another pattern, for the purpose of matching with a set etc..

For rush seats: The old seat should be cut off carefully using a knife vertically just inside the frame in a sawing movement and easing the seat downwards, perhaps into a plastic bag. It will probably be very dusty (yours will not be unique!) but should be brought to the class in case it is an unusual pattern which is to be replaced. This may reveal necessary repairs to the frame. These should be done before the course.

£30 for large chairs, £15 for small, to be paid on the day. Mary will assess your chair at the beginning of the class.

What to Bring
At least £30 in cash please.

Please bring as many of these as you already have. Other tools may be borrowed from me.

For caning: Apron, a good penknife (not a Stanley knife), small hammer, small bowl for water, sponge or small piece of old cloth, scissors, side cutters, a thin bodkin or large straight needle (3”), a clearer or nail with a head a fraction smaller than the holes in your chair frame, note book and pencil, small stool to sit on while working.

For rush work: Apron, a good penknife (not a Stanley knife), strong scissors, a threading tool with a large eye ( I have plenty to lend), small piece of old cloth or J cloth, Small amount of soft string, a few clothes pegs, a tack remover, pliers, a small pad saw (I will have one).

Do contact me in advance, if you need advice - click through to the website above for Mary Butcher's email address. Please send a photo or two of your chair with your request.

Mary Butcher, 6 Downs Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7AY

Assington Mill is a 70 acre organic farm in a beautiful secluded hidden valley in Suffolk. We aim to provide a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, where you will enjoy the experience of spending time with like-minded people and learning something new and life-enriching. Around fifty-five different short courses in rural and traditional craft skills are run here each year.

We aim to provide healthy meals during our courses made from locally-sourced organic ingredients, where possible. Lunches usually consist of soup and salads. Almost all the ingredients, if they are not grown here, come from Assington Farmshop, and are organic if possible. Cakes and biscuits are also home-made. We specialise in gluten-free food and are happy to cater for any other dietary requirements if you give us notice on the booking form.

Accommodation is available at many BnBs in the area (please see the list on our website) or you could stay in Mill Cottage on site. Alternatively, Camping is also possible at Assington Mill for £5 per night, anywhere on the farm. There is a toilet and shower available in a wetroom; plus a kitchen with two hobs and urn. We are not a proper camp site; this is just a facility for people coming on the courses.

Assington Mill is half a mile from the nearest bus stop or 3 miles from Bures train station if you wish to travel by public transport.

To book please click through (link above) find your course and book online.

What's included in the price?

A lovely organic home made lunch, plus cakes and biscuits. To book please click through (above) find your course (in date order) and book online.

For more information about accommodation and food please see above.

Please see below for details of the tools and materials required.

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