Monday 18 May 2009

Arbury Hall Game and Country Fair

Steve attended the game fair in Nuneaton last weekend. The setting was beautiful but unfortunately the weather was the usual British spring weather. Strong winds and heavy showers. The show was very poorly attended but those who did brave the weather did enjoy themselves. Mick and Avril Priestly were demonstrating their woodcraft skills - Mick's carved heads and Avril's stools and benches. We are hoping for better weather next weekend when we are very close to home at the Countryside Fest at Westmorland Showground, Crooklands just down the road from us.
Meanwhile we are creating willow sculptures at various schools in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Thursday 14 May 2009


Just returned from Somerset where we collected some willow for our upcoming school projects. Whilst there we visited Glastonbury and Margery Fish's famous garden.
We watched The Channel 4 programme with Kirsty Allsop about making a home in the West Country using 2nd hand stuff and the work of local craftworkers and artists. Imagine our surprise when we saw Kirsty being shown how to make a frame basket using the exact method that Steve devised to facilitate easier basketry courses. Guess we should be flattered that our ideas get copied. It would be nice if we sometimes got a thank you.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Beatrix Potter Garden

We went to the grand opening of the Beatrix Potter Garden. Chris Collins the Blue Peter gardener was the guest of honour. Despite it being a very rainy day the garden looked fantastic and our willow work was much appreciated. The pics are of Steve, some of our weaving and the trio are Richard Lucas (the garden designer), Simone and Chris Coles (BBC Blue Peter). Beatrix Potter is very popular in Japan and China so as well as the ITV border Television filming the opening there was a film crew from China.

We loaded the van in readiness for the Game Fair at Pickering Showground this weekend. Steve will be demonstrating basketmaking and Simone will be demonstrating willow sculpture. We are hoping for good weather but are prepared for rain.

Monday 4 May 2009

Press Cutting from last year

Pupils twig on to making the most of outdoor space
Dec 30 2008 by Jon Tunney, The Journal

SCHOOLGIRLS from Tyneside have created a unique outdoor learning space.
Nearly 30 youngsters aged nine and 10 from Newcastle Church High School have created a Twigloo – a large dome- shaped structure made entirely from living willow within their school grounds in Jesmond.
The structure was built over two days with the help of willow experts Steve Fuller and Simone Siegen from Kendal-based Willowpool Designs.
Judith Cunningham, head of the Junior School at Church High, said: “The willow-weaving activity has given our Year 5s an opportunity to create something that will stay within the school for many years.
“Building the monument has allowed the girls to work as part of a team and be creative at the same time.
“We are looking forward to seeing how the structure grows and changes throughout the different seasons and how the girls make use of this highly unusual space.”
Dianne Colwell, Year 3 form teacher who also looks after the outdoor activities schedule, said: “We are very lucky to be at a school on an inner-city site but be able to provide the girls with such a variety of outdoor activities in both lessons and playtimes.
“It was a pleasure to see the girls working with such enthusiasm and commitment to build a beautiful structure that they will be able to use for years to come.
“The girls have a real sense of ownership and pride and the rest of the school was impressed with what they managed to achieve in just two days. We are looking forward to making best use of the space in the spring term.”

Kendal Town Council's Illegal Eviction of Willow

Here is a good picture of a willow tunnel that we created years ago at Stramongate Primary School in Kendal. it has been very well maintained by the gardeners there.
Yesterday we began the sad task of ripping out all of our well-established willows at our allotment in Kendal. We have to do this because Kendal Town Council decided to evict us after 10 years of taking rent from us with no problems. We are upset and disgusted by the attitude of Kendal Town Council especially when part of the theme of Britain In Bloom this year is for biodiversity and sustainablility etc. The Allotment Commitee is made up of Kendal Town Councillors, who probably don't know one end of a spade from the other. There are no actual allotment holders involved in decision making.
As we were cutting out the willow stumps yesterday we met quite a few fellow allotmenteers. Every one of them were disgusted and surprised at our cruel eviction. The general opinion of Kendal Town Council was that it was full of self seeking morons who care little about the wishes and needs of the ordinary decent people who want to cultivate allotments.
We continue to believe that our evictions from our 2 allotments that we were allocated by South Lakes District Council for the express purpose of willow growing are illegal and unfair. We just don't have the time, money or energy to continue the fight against Kendal Town Council. I just hope that they do badly in this years Britain In Bloom!!
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