March 2013 newsletter

Dear all,


I had hoped to be able to start my March newsletter to you joyous in the arrival of spring, but it seems that although we’ve had a very welcome bit of sun today, winter is really reluctant to let go its grip this year!


I am hoping that I can raise spirits a little with some lovely pics. I have a new laptop and I now have ‘Outlook’ which allows me to insert photos into the text. I am really hoping that these will appear the same to you when you receive your email. If you can’t see them, then please let me know and I’ll experiment some more (it looks great this end!)




In spite of the ice and snow, six people were able to make it out to Shudy Camps last weekend and some truly beautiful baskets were created in the cosy studio. An unexpected advantage of the bitter wind was that staking-up (the only bit it was necessary to do outside) got completed rather quicker than usual, so we had time to practise borders before completing them on the baskets, resulting in some beautifully finished pieces.


The next workshop on the horizon is Living Willow Chairs. Do check your diaries now and book soon if you’re interested in this. Because of the seasonal nature of what we’ll be making, we have only one date left this year -Saturday April 6thand places are limited. Check out the photo of these living chairs made on the course a few weeks ago at the beginning of March. The bench is actually not much harder and very 'doable' in a day for two people, and costs only £125.00 (including 2 lunches!) And, there is a bonus to the ground being so saturated at the moment - any living willow chairs or benches planted in the next month will get off to a great start (when it finally warms up!) This workshop will be led by me and Andy Basham of Coppice Designs at (the nice warm and dry) Ashdon Village Hall.


The previous weekend I was able to participate in bringing a real taste of spring to the visitors at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia. My sculpture ‘Lady Spring’ was part of the ‘Woodland Boudoir’, a stunning room set, providing a welcome  haven of sensual creative loveliness in the midst of a busy show. Conceived by Yulia Badian, the Boudoir combined the talents of 8 inspirational female artists and you can see more pics on Yulia’s Silkfelt facebook page, on myfacebook page or indeed follow this link for a lovely blog with some great photos


What a joy to be part of such a talented group of women artists, and a pleasure to be able to be there in person to hear the wonderful feedback that we got.


Whilst a weekend wouldn’t be enough to do something quite on the scale of Lady Spring, if you fancy a go yourself, I am running a Sculpture workshop on the weekend of 18th and 19th May.


If you’re feeling like something a little different, there is also a women’s weaving dayrun in conjunction with Filipa Pereira-Stubbs as part of her ‘Women Well in the Wild’ series of workshops. Please see the attached flier. Details of booking with Filipa are included, but she will be unavailable for a couple of weeks over Easter, so please feel free to book with me if you can’t get through and want to be sure of a place.


Working outside of the past couple of months has been a challenge (my tea froze in my mug a couple of weeks ago!) but thanks to thermal undies and some serious ski gear, we have still managed to create some lovely living willow structures (see attached photos) and get the majority of the willow harvest in. We have had a beautiful crop this year. Indeed, it has been so plentiful that there may well be some spare to sell later on in the season, and I may have a couple of open days at Blacksmith’s where you will be able to buy organic willow in lovely colours – watch this space!


Whilst harvesting and working on Lady Spring I was constantly moved by the stunning colours and lustre of the willow bark. I wrote about it. I thought long and hard about including this – it’s not so easy to put your first stumblings into poetry out there, but here goes – may not be Wordsworth, but it does sum up how lucky I feel to do what I do.

Rich intensity of colours


for they exist

only in fresh willow


unique in bark and bud

every rod this lush

I am a millionaire



Workshops are filling up fast, but there are still spaces on all except Plant supports on 20th April (there is another opportunity to make them on 8th May


Finally, if there is something you would like to make and don’t see a workshop advertised in which you could do it, then help is at hand. I am trialling a new way of organising things so that you can get exactly what you want, when you want. I am now offering the opportunity to create your own workshop on weekdays. If you and a friend want to do something together I am now offering day workshops here for two at £220 (£110 each), for three at £255 (£85 each) and four at £280 (£70 each). This includes all materials and lunch. Also, if you want me to advertise your workshop on the website, we might get other bookings, thereby reducing your costs. If this appeals to you, get in touch and we’ll start talking dates.


Warm wishes to you all,