The Big Day…

Lovely to meet Louise and her friends and family this morning at the Butterfly Arts Studio in Essex.

The group surprised Louise with a willow weaving start to her hen party. They made 17 hearts between them and decorated them with a mixture of blue and white flowers to tie in with Louise’s wedding colours.

Brian and Julie from the studio then served up a delicious afternoon tea, thoroughly earned by everyone.

Twins…

I’ve made two of these baskets in the last two days. One yesterday with lovely students Marion and Caroline and one today as a demonstration for the Attleborough Day Care centre.

It’s really heart warming to see older folk being cared for by the team at the day care centre. They provide them with a delicious meal and various activities each week. I hope to go back and do a more participative workshop at some point this year.

The double French rand weave is a a little slow to set up but then the sides grow really fast which is great when you don’t want to keep joining in new weavers.

Zigzag…

I haven’t used the zigzag weave for a while. I think it looks really effective when the willow behaves. I had some willow to use up last week so took the opportunity to have a play.

Zigzag weave is set up in the same way as French randing. In this basket I used double rods. When you’ve worked a row in one direction you take the weavers back in the other direction on the next row. By alternating the direction of the weave in this way, the zigzag climbs up the stakes.

Thank you to my son Aidan for the photos.

Holiday project…

My Christmas holiday project is finally finished. A friend gave me a ball of wool last August to ‘do something with’! Over the holidays I decided what I needed was the simplest coiling project.

The soothing nature of repetition, working round after round, watching the colours reveal themselves brought me such happiness and peace.

I used a core of natural twine which was strong and flexible giving a nice firm finish.

Alpaca Lovers…

This is Kath, one half of the fab duo that run Lings meadow campsite in Hepworth, Suffolk. It’s a small eco and clamping campsite set on the family farm.

They also keep Alpacas and make lovely things from the wool. However there are fibre remnants from the legs and neck that are just too short for spinning apparently but the birds love them.

We made a fat ball feeder to hold the fibres so the birds can come and help themselves. It’s lovely soft stuff, ideal for lining nests.

I hope there will be lots of lovely warm nests in Hepworth over the next few weeks.

The Butterfly art studio…

I was back at the Butterfly art studio today. We made Christmas decorations in the morning and Christmas trees in the afternoon.

Even with a very basic star there are so many ways to personalise it. Perhaps by layering different colours or random weaving over the top. One lady captured pine cones at the centre of hers with random weaving which looked great. It’s really enjoyable watching all the individuality pouring into people’s work.

Log basket…

This log basket started with a 4×4 underfoot base. This means that I used 8 base sticks. The sticks are not split but placed on top of each other and held by your feet whilst weaving. This gives a really strong base which is what you want on a log basket.

The bowl shape takes advantage of the natural curve in the willow rods as you weave. It’s highlighted even more by bringing the basket in at the top before bordering.

Tickety Boo Garden Cafe…

Another lovely Christmas course today at the Tickety Boo Garden Cafe near Norton. We made Christmas trees and reindeer, wreaths, hearts and stars. There was time for decorating too!

The smell of the willow mixed with dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks was just lovely. Happy birthday to Winnie!! Hope you have had a lovely day. (front row, 2nd from the left).

The Cafe provided a delicious lunch. Check out their web site for opening times it’s so worth a visit. They are also holding a craft evening on Thursday 30th November which promises to be a lot of fun with lots of different stalls.

The start of something…

The first of a few Christmas courses I’ll be teaching in the next few weeks.

So many people at Redgrave and Lopham Fen today! We made Christmas wreaths, hearts and stars for the participants to decorate however they liked. I love that everyone’s work turns out differently. I love the quiet contentment that descends over the room as people get into the zone.

It was also encouraging to read the feedback forms. Many people commented that they were keen to do more, which is always nice to hear.

I even managed a short stroll at lunch time. It has been a beautiful day.