Willow Weaving · Workshops & Courses

Weaving Magic

It maybe almost Midsummer but a couple of weeks ago I received my Christmas present! Last December, (after dropping not-very-subtle hints) I was delighted to unwrap a gift card for a Creative With Nature workshop.

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A friend had been to learn foraged basketry, thoroughly enjoyed herself and highly recommended Joevanka Gregory’s teaching. I’d booked the willow pea climbers course for March but on the day the snow fell so deeply, the icy roads were too dangerous to travel and everything came to a standstill. There was no choice but to postpone. On the plus side, that delay gave me time to get my peas growing!

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May in Yorkshire could not have been more different. It was warm and sunny all month and my drive to Todmordon was glorious. Rhododendrons and hawthorn blossoms were at their very best and the views across the Calder Valley spectacular.

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Creative with Nature is an airy shop, gallery and workshop space right in the centre of the town next to the Rochdale Canal.

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Over a welcome cuppa and biscuits, we admired the work around us and were raring to go. After a quick demonstration we were soon underway with our weaving, enjoying the chatter and learning about willow as we went along.

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At the start, my weave went wrong a few times but Joe sorted me out and I soon found my rhythm, getting totally absorbed and relaxed in the process, beginning to understand how to work the willow.

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By lunchtime most of us had completed our first pea climber and had a go making a willow dragonfly.

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After lunch I tried working with a different kind of willow. It was a bit trickier to manipulate than the brown willow we’d been using. It’s difficult to see on the photo but when the sun shines on it, it gives a lovely band of colour contrast. Two more pea climbers materialized in the afternoon and as I stood back to admire my handiwork, I was feeling relieved that I’d decided to drive rather than take the train!

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Getting these three into a Micra was interesting though! One did need a bit of a repair job when I got back home so it’s now got a cropped top.

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I was happy that the other two kept their tops intact. I like how they taper to their natural ends. My peas are just about ready to plant out and I’m so looking forward to finding the perfect spot and seeing them start to climb. Many thanks to Joe for a wonderful day. I will definitely be back! I’m over the moon with the climbers which I hope will last a good few years.  They are so much lovelier than my usual unstable efforts with garden canes and string.

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