May 2014 Newsletter

Dear all,

I hope you are well on this rather cloudy, but still rather lovely May morning. The birds here seem almost deafening today - maybe they’re singing of the joys of spring? The sound certainly makes me smile, and I’ve just seen a couple of very young coal tits on the seed feeder which is rather exciting. Before I head down to the willow beds to fetch more large material for tomorrow’s sculpture workshop and a wedding arch next week, I thought I’d take the laptop out into the garden and spend a few moments telling you about what we’ve been doing this spring and what’s coming up in the summer. The garden at Blacksmith’s is looking rather lush and lovely – it has been appreciating the rain we’ve had over the past few days, as have the two new living willow structures we have here, which are now bursting fully into life. The front garden has a lovely living dome, which was created at a workshop here in March, and it’s looking fabulous in front of our 2 lilac trees that are now in full bloom. I look forward to spending more time under its leafy canopy later in the year. Our other living creation is a fabulous new ‘tree bog’. Built by my friend Des and his daughter Jackie in a corner of the Orchard, it is a compost toilet (on a rather grand scale) designed to make the most of the thirsty nature of the willow that I have planted all around it. The willow literally drinks up the waste! It has beenplanted and woven in layers and cut at different heights so that it will sprout new shoots at several levels to screen all parts of the construction.

may14-dome may14-treebog

The workshops have been proving very popular this year, and have been booking up very quickly. I have also arranged quite a lot of private workshops, and the living chairs have worked really well with smaller groups. I seem to have been teaching a lot! (I love it!)

Though this weekend’s sculpture workshop, and the June weekend 2 day basket workshop in June are full, there are still places on Weaving the Land on Saturday 17th May (see attached flyer) – an outside workshop in wonderful woodland, set to be a beautiful day of weaving in and with nature. Last year’s workshop in the gorgeous Ashlyn Woods was just wonderful. Please do forward the information to anyone you think might be interested. I have also arranged another 2 day basket workshop which will take place on Weds 11th and Thurs 12th June.

I am going to be taking part in Open Studios again in the summer, and this year, joining me will be Heidi Bentley, with her silver jewellery – another reason to come and visit us on the 2 middle weekends (12th,13th and 19th,20th ) of July. I’ll let you know about the private view nearer the time. Though I won’t be exhibiting, I will be visiting Weird and Wonderful Wood in a couple of weeks, and some of our willow will be making an appearance courtesy of a sculptural grouping of obelisks made by Frankie Tomany and friends. Frankie has been on several workshops this year, and made some lovely stuff. I’ll be there on Sunday 18thMay if you fancy catching up somewhere a bit different.

may14-hedgehole And to finish, here’s a pic of my new willow ‘hole in the hedge’, something that’s been planned for several years and that I’ve at last got round to completing. Whilst weaving away at workshops you will now be able to peak into the Orchard whenever you like!


Warm wishes,