Thursday, September 10, 2009

St.Martin's outdoor classroom.

My old secondary school, St. Martin's, have been busy building a vegetable garden with raised beds. As a teaching facility they want to make this veg plot a fundamental part of the school life, getting in touch with the process of growing, the year cycles/seasons and of course, their soon to be full and very healthy bellies.
I was made up to be invited to build an outdoor classroom for them! Some lovely oak benches a teaching table and a couple of huge cobwebs to screen the space and provide a trellis for some lovely climbing plants has helped transform the space.
The teaching staff intend to cook and demonstrate with the produce outside in this new space and invite guest chefs too. There is even talk of building a cob bread oven to bake their own super fresh pizzas! Wow! Count me in!
It has been great working here as I have so many good memories of schooldays.

Thank you to Doreen Rose for her patience and enthusiasm .

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Westonbirt's 'Festival of the tree'

The 'Festival of the Tree' 2009 took place last week at Westonbirt Arboretum.
In 2007 I had created a huge willow maze based on the growth rings of the tree it was so loved by the little people that this year I returned and built them a new one.

This years festival was based on climate change and I chose to celebrate the humble bumble bee and made a honeycomb maze from a sweet chestnut framework and visitors were then encouraged to pitch in and help with the willow weaving.

Over the bank holiday weekend I ran workshops helping visitors create woven 'bits n bats' for them to take home. There was never a dull moment, at one point I was even asked for my autograph by a lady who explained she'd visited Kew Gardens (blog to come soon!) the previous day, seen my work and was very pleased to then see me at the festival, the day after that I was bitten by a small dog keeping my ego in check!

It's a great event made better by the volume of live making and doings of 12 chainsaw artists, sundry turners, axemen, furniture makers and story tellers. All very inspiring.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Basket making at Spring Wood

Set within the beautiful Spring Wood in North Leicesteshire/South Derbyshire lies the Greenwood Days centre where all things green and crafty are produced from pole-lathing to coracle building, long bows to rustic furniture and of course basket making!
The centre is set within the Staunton Harold Estate nr Melbourne, South Derbyshire ran by Peter Wood a fine chair maker and evidently an extraordinary soup maker too!

Twice yearly I tutor a simple basket making course, it runs over two days and is a great introduction to the sport, not only do clients leave with their own wares, but also the knowledge to continue their newly found craft.

Now, although we are talking about some seriously ancient technology here, the centre has it's own website and there is a basket making course running in September this year (26th and 27th) with a few places left, so if you're feeling the urge to get involved, click on the link and reserve your space now.

Below is the result of our last session from the 17th and 18th of August. Everyone from curious folk entering the woodland to obsessive weavers in just two days!