Hen Basket

hen basket
Hen Basket Workshop with Cynthia Minden This design of basket appears goes back many centuries. There is some evidence that it originated in Scotland. Scots emigrants to the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia took the design with them, adapting it to the locally available split wood. Some claim that it was originally a Viking design brought to Scotland. However in Scandinavia these baskets are referred to as ‘Scotch baskets’ which suggests the influence went the other way. Called a hen basket. it was used to carry a broody hen from one croft to another. Once a hen was inside she couldn’t move her wings and so couldn’t get out. Another use for the basket in a bigger and heavier version was as a builder’s basket, where they were used to transport stones on simple winches. There are twelfth century references to this use in England. We will be making our baskets primarily with rattan, a wood that is easily workable and closely resembles the splints of black ash or white oak used in the Appalachias. Time permitting, we can experiment with other materials but once mastered, this versatile basket lends itself to many adaptations.
Cost of Course
Kit Fee
Course Difficulty
Course Type
Course Time
Saturday morning, 9 am to 12 pm
Saturday afternoon, 1 pm to 4 pm
Sunday morning, 9 am to 12 pm
Sunday afternoon, 1 pm to 4 pm
List of materials
What I will bring:

1. All the round and flat reed we need
2. Some plant materials to experiment with.

What YOU should bring: IMPORTANT!

1. Sharp hand-held secateurs - please note yours need to be sharp!
2. Needle nose pliers (the type that are bent at the tip are good)
3. An awl - if you plan on making baskets, a caner’s awl is a great tool!
4. Old towel
5. Soaking tub for reeds - a dish pan or bucket
6. Spray bottle
7. Optional: some long, flexible vines such as wisteria, thin willow, ivy, honeysuckle - pliable, not woody