Homo Faber

EN Languages Account Follow us Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter
Presented by logo Homo Faber by Michelangelo Foundation
Explore Discover Visit Experience Itineraries About
© Michael Franke
© All rights reserved
© All rights reserved
© All rights reserved
© All rights reserved

Felicity Irons

  • Basketweaver
  • Bedford, United Kingdom
  • Master Artisan
Felicity Irons Basketweaver
By appointment only
+44 1234376419
© All rights reserved

A river of creativity

  • • Felicity taught herself rush seating while recovering from a car accident
  • • She goes punting on rivers to collect rush
  • • About 2500m bolts of rush are stored in her 14th-century tythe barn

People may associate punting with a gentle float down the river from the colleges of Oxford or Cambridge, but Felicity Irons uses these flat-bottomed boats to continue a tradition that is centuries-old. Each summer, she and her team of helpers – including her dog, Molly – punt down local rivers to cut and harvest freshwater bulrushes. The rush stems can be up to 3m in length, quite a sight when loaded onto the narrow 5m punt. “During the summer, we cut two tons of rush a day using four punts.” That's just the beginning. Felicity and her studio make traditional rush floor matting, basketry, furniture and other objects that are exported all over the world. “We are the only people in the UK who are involved in the whole process from harvesting to weaving.”

Read the full interview


  • © All rights reserved
  • © Michael Franke
  • © All rights reserved
  • © All rights reserved
  • © All rights reserved
Photo: © All rights reserved
Nesting baskets 3

This set of three finely woven nesting baskets made from English bulrush were commissioned for a client in Tokyo. Felicity works closely with a shop in Tokyo that has a cooking school attached. The baskets are typically used for rice. Bulrush is the name given to several varieties of wetland grass-like plants.

Width 36 cm
Diameter 9 cm

Photo: © Michael Franke

This chair made from English bulrush and oak was created in collaboration with designer Christopher Jenner. The essence of the project is the meeting of technology and master craftsmanship. The finely woven rush seat took Felicity over 200 hours to weave. It was woven over the form of a mould and, when dry, sent to a joiner to “sandwich” inside a CNC oak frame. The seat is one of twelve from a limited edition available at Gallery Fumi, London.

Height 103 cm

Photo: © All rights reserved
Jumbo log baskets

Over 100 metres of English bulrush were used to create these large log baskets. The plait needs to be entirely dry before being hand sewn round a former or mould. The log baskets can be made in many shapes and sizes and should easily last for up to 50 years.

Height 64 cm
Diameter 64 cm

Photo: © All rights reserved

These handwoven slippers were made to measure from English bulrush. Felicity was inspired to make them when she found a similar pair of shoes while exploring France. This is the first pair she made.

Photo: © All rights reserved
Chain-paired table runner

This table runner is made from English bulrush using a chain-pairing weave. Felicity also uses this versatile and beautiful weave to make blinds and bedheads as well as bags. Last year she made 30 bedheads, 3 metres wide, in this weave for Heckfield Place, a hotel in Hampshire.

Enjoy an experience with Felicity Irons

You may also like

Download the app

Find all the Homo Faber Guide content at hand, save, like and much more!