October 2014 Newsletter

Dear all,

An unusual start to my newsletter today, as I’m not able to begin by telling you how much I’m enjoying being outside, but I guess this morning’s heavy rain does make it more desirable to be sat in front of my lap-top in my cosy kitchen, and it does bring home just what a glorious summer and early autumn we’ve enjoyed this year!

It seems quite a while since I last wrote, and though the lovely summer has been packed full of activity, I will focus on what’s new in this newsletter - you can always catch up with what’s been happening on our Facebook page

The workshops have been numerous and very popular, with all the beginners courses between now and Christmas fully booked, though there are still 2 places left on this week’s 2 day Oval Handbag Workshop(Thursday and Friday 16th and 17thOctober).  This workshop is suitable for those with a little experience (at least a couple of baskets using the stake and strand method). I will also open the last two places to anyone with similar levels of skill to make their own choice of round or oval work – just get in touch if you’re interested and we can discuss ideas.



 This brings me neatly onto the re-introduction next year of basketry study days. Aimed at those with some experience, these days provide an opportunity for those of you who have a particular project in mind to come and work on them here at Blacksmiths Cottage, making use of the materials, workshop, tools, books and my help, with the added bonus of having some pleasant company and good food at the same time! 
Study days will offer the chance to make items, and explore materials (such as cane and rush) that are not currently offered as part of the main workshop programme. Try out your own basket or sculpture ideas, with experienced support or simply enjoy the surroundings and spend the day reading about baskets. It's up to you! If this appeals to you, then do get in touch, and we’ll start thinking about when to run them to suit the most people.



Rather excitingly, next year will also see me teaching a bit more at other local venues with basketry and sculpture workshops being run at Stapleford Granary and the Cambridge Botanic Gardens, where I will be taking over Mary Butcher’s very popular classes. Mary, who is very knowledgeable and a great speaker, will be a giving a talk at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge on ‘Creative basketry through the ages’ on 12th November - I’d highly recommend it. Places are free, but you do have to book.

A small group including myself and Mary are curating a new exhibition of work by members of the Basketmakers’ Association. A poster describing the exhibition and entry specifications is attached, and I would encourage anyone who is a member of the BA to enter. Entries will be judged on good quality making and we will hope to reflect a cross-section of what people are making now, whether traditional or contemporary. I will be one of the collection points for chosen pieces and the BA will pay for return delivery for any items that aren’t sold at the end of the exhibition. You don’t have to have been a Basketmakers’ Association member for any specific length of time, and so if you’d like to enter you can join now and still send in a piece. The closing date for entries is January 26th 2015. Feel free to get in touch with me if you’d like any more information.

This seems to be turning into rather a long one, so I’ll make my last few points brief! 

You might like to take a look at a Facebook Charity Auction - Alma's Trust Artisan Auction that I have a small piece of work in. There are loads of gorgeous hand-made items for auction including a couple of pieces of Hannah Willow’s jewellery, and 100% of the proceeds are going to a good cause. 
Also, if you’d like to read a bit more about my willow weaving journey, there is a nice article about SalixArts in the Autumn edition of UK Handmade magazine, which you can read online at http://ukhandmade.co.uk/magazine (pp68-81)

Oh, and one more thing – during a bit of recent studio re-organisation I came across a rather nice grey jacket and scarf with feathers on (pictured right). If they are yours, please get in touch and I’ll get them back to you. oct14-jacket

Enjoy the Autumn (whatever the weather where you are),

Warm wishes,