Reading based basket making course focuses on upcycling

You can make amazing baskets from everyday materials thanks to a new course

A new course launching at Park URC in east Reading from February 4 will show people how they can make baskets and other containers using recycled materials. Run by a local environmental activist, the course aims to show how everyday items can be reused, rather than going to landfill.

Local ecologist and environmental activist Ornella Trevisan has been thinking about the things we throw away a lot lately. “In nature there is no waste, everything is reused,” she said. “Unlike energy, which fundamentally flows from the sun and once it’s used, it’s gone, matter circulates and is recycled again and again.”

Ornella is crusading to raise awareness of what things are made of, where they come from and what happens to them after we have finished with them.

“Raising knowledge about this is essential,” explained Ornella, “and not only because we have finite resources and just a single planet.”

One of the ways Ornella is spreading the word is by teaching basket making, starting from how to weave strips, then gently leading to make all sorts of containers.

She said: “The baskets will be made from various materials with an emphasis on those that would have gone to landfill.”

The course will include tips on how to source, choose and prepare them.

“Ecology has taught me how to join the dots in every complex problem; the environmental issue is one of them,” Ornella said. “Basket making is a fun way to start thinking about it and start finding solutions.”

“There is an educational message about waste at the core of this training; while learning how to do something positive with the waste we do make, we may end up reflecting and producing less of it.”

In fact, there’s more, as Ornella explains: “When we want or need something, usually we go out and buy it, but the satisfaction of making something with your own hands is not payable with money. And if you challenge yourself with a new pattern and succeed, you can apply [this thinking] to other areas of your life as well.

“This is uplifting and very rewarding.”

The course will be a mix of learning how to weave, making baskets, finding out more about substances and friendly chat on waste. It’s ideal for all, and in particular for teachers and educators.

“You will leave with a skill, as well as everything you’ll have made yourself,” Ornella said.

The course starts on Wednesday February 4 for five weeks. Sessions run from 7.30pm-9.30pm, Park United Reformed Church, Palmer Park Avenue, Reading, RG6 1DN

It costs £50, which includes all materials.

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