There is always such a great pleasure in trying an activity for the time; it combines the fear you might be completely rubbish mingled with the hope you may absolutely love it. I particularly enjoy creative art and even though my track record is littered with failed attempts….such as the disaster pottery lessons turned into and wishy washy water colours, I am always excited to have a go at something new and just sometimes you hit the jackpot (in my case calligraphy). So when Debbie, who is both my niece and friend, picked a day learning willow work as my challenge ( well part of my challenge but more about that later..) I was thrilled.
We were blessed with amazing weather and a group of 8 of us, together with our talented instructor Carole (her web link is below), sat outside enjoying the breathtaking Derbyshire views from Debbie’s garden over Matlock and across to Stanton Moor….you could not fail to be inspired.
The majority of the group plumped for making free form light pods so Carol then guided us through how to make willow circlets, which we joined and built up then moulded holes. (The hilarity of this aspect can’t be recreated so I won’t even try, you can use your imaginations 😉). As an all female group activity we bonded, relaxed, laughed, teased and the dynamic atmosphere reflected the ebb and flow of conversation and concentration. I really enjoy male company but there is also something particularly pleasing about solely being in the company of people of your own gender and this day was a perfect example of that. Then, before our eyes strange pods appeared, all starting the same and somehow each taking on their own identity…tightly woven or lose and free, straight, curved and in my case…onion-shaped!! We stopped for tea and cake ( too scrummy), then later again for a feast of a lunch which collectively was made and shared and fuelled us to continue.
Finally, our creations ( many light pods and one completely adorable puddle duck ) were complete, we had in and outed, woven, tied, secatoured, twisted and often doubted then been delighted and now….they were done. And, without exception, they looked stunning.
And here I return to what I said at the beginning, as just sometimes you strike lucky and find something you love!! I LOVE willow weaving…it was accessible, so therapeutic, you could not really go wrong as there are so many small or large projects you can do producing functional and/or artistic pieces. It is a tactile, physical and, fortunately for me, Carole had enough willow for me to buy some and bring back to Kent so I can have another go soon. A perfect day.
This was an inspired challenge by Debbie and I am so grateful she helped me to find another new hobby; however it was only part of her ‘connecting with nature’ challenge to me…..so stay tuned to find out how she then ended the day by completely taking me out of my comfort zone!!!!