Sculpture · Willow Weaving · Workshops & Courses

Six Stags & A Spaniel

Remember my Weaving Magic post about making willow pea climbers? Well I’m pleased to report that the seeds I’d nurtured back then grew to be healthy plants. Happily they clambered and wove themselves upwards, rewarding us richly with fresh flowers and produce for weeks over summer.

Pea, mint and courgette risotto is one of our favourite summer dinners and there’s nothing like being able to go out and harvest what you need for a meal. Of course the pickings have to make it that far. One for me, one for the bowl!

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Generally I enjoy seeing my flowers where they grow but with sweet peas, they’re such good value. The more you pick, the more you get. They don’t last long but smell wonderful in the house.

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It was late September when the sweet peas were just about finished, I left the last few to go to seed and waited for a dry day when I could pull them up and collect free seeds to sow for next year.

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It’s not quite time to put the climbers away for the winter though. A month after sowing, just as I was about to give up on the Black Eyed Susan ever germinating, shoots appeared. It soon took off, twirling it’s way right to the top of the willow. Still going strong, it will stay giving colour to the autumn borders until the first frosts.

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Friends were keen to have a go at willow weaving too after seeing the pea climbers, so I got back in touch with Joe at Creative With Nature and arranged for her to visit. What did we want to weave on our workshop? ‘Some sort of animal’ was the popular request. Joe suggested we could complete a stag head in a day, which would make a great decoration for autumn and winter.

My kitchen transformed into a studio for the day as seven of us began constructing our ethical trophy stag heads. I found them a little trickier than the pea climbers, especially the bit attaching the head to the neck where I could have done with another hand or two. Fortunately Joe had plenty of good advice and even more patience!.

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Willow weaving is pretty physical and we were so ready for our lunch. Everyone had contributed a delicious dish to share. The only problem was finding the table!

The afternoon was all about the antlers. An individual choice, these ranged from modest to huge, or non-existent in the case of Sarah who went off piste halfway through and decided to weave her spaniel Archie!

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Everyone went home chuffed to bits with their completed piece, each with its own character. I’m sure over the coming weeks and certainly by Christmas they will be personalised further. Those antlers are asking for something to dangle from them and I’m thinking lights, a red pom-pom nose…

Claire has already added lights to hers. Look how great he looks!

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Nicky and Sharon have also taken ideas to try with the kids at their school and I’d love to have a go at some basketry next.  Thanks again to Joe for a great day and for preserving and sharing this ancient skill.

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