I never quite got around to mentioning Helfa Gelf did I? Translated, it means Arts Trail and it's held on the weekends of September each year here in North Wales. As well as open studios there are also a variety of free workshops (held this year at the renowned Ruthin Craft Centre) to drop into.
This is the very lovely Mandy Coates, basket maker. Not only does she know her technical stuff (she's been doing this a while) but she even grows her own willow. I'm pretty astonished to see how many colours are possible from one type of tree, albeit different varieties! Her baskets are filled with as much colour as they are fabulous craftsmanship.
And so, here's my first attempt (above). I decided to make a dragonfly and Sarah chose to make a hanging bowl to use as a bird feeder. I'm not sure of any of the terminology for the equipment or techniques so, basket makers reading, do forgive me! Both of us started off with a similar block but clearly, Sarah (below) used to outside holes but after that, the twisty-wrap technique was the same for both projects.
Yep, it was fun :-)
Sarah decided to add a little flourish to the end of hers and used all the willow length to create a pointy end. Stretching the brief, I like that.
This is how my wrapping ended (below). That stick in the middle is used as a guide only and later removed. Look at that fab tool though. Basically, it was just a poker to help wangle the weaving off the block and stick. Still, I have hardware envy.
Ta-dah! I think the wings are the wrong way around but you get the gist. We were just having a bit of fun but boy it's still tough on the hands. Now, who do I know with a willow tree...
Yes. I do love beach combing. And found pattern. Put them together and I'm stupid-happy.
I can't count the hours that I've looked for this pebble over the years. Or the stones I've picked up thinking that this might be the one. And then there it was, staring right up at me at the beach that keeps on giving. Oh the joy to be had in an igneous pebble detailed with a little quartz :)
So, there was the watermelon cake. And later, there was a party for seven, 7 year old girls (plus a 4 year old boy and an old Jack Russell)! The craft table was set up to use as a buffet for them to fill the orange bowls they'd been given. I decorated each bowl with a little washi tape with their names on, to avoid argument!
Sat back at the dining table (referred to as the 'studio' for the duration) they made their own necklaces to take away and even tried a little plaiting of yarn octopus too.
Much fun but even more colour!
This does not please me. Perversely, I am impressed how perfectly this dinner plate broke into 2 semi circles. Geometry saving my mood once again! Chinasearch.co.uk has no available stock but as there's only 3 of us, we're still blessed with a plate each :)
Well, as I forge ahead with several projects it's easy to forget that I'm actually a maker of things! This is a very old piece I made about 6 or 7 years ago. The colour scheme is taken from the recycled handbag strap that's used at the back of the necklace. Love me a bit of freeform.
Now when I say other 'projects' I don't mean crochet. Earlier this week I visited the Autumnfair at the NEC. It was mostly a fact gathering mission as I'm hoping to exhibit there or at Springfair in the next few years even though I've just discovered the eye-watering cost!
Another birthday, another cake. Top of her 7th birthday list were 2 watermelons and a pineapple. I have no idea why she was thinking that way but I managed to make this for her, complete with watermelon flavouring (which tasted like alcoholic honeydew to me)! It probably turned out cheaper than buying a watermelon too as I had most of the stuff and scrounged the green icing. The intense shade comes from a LOT of paste colouring in 3 colours blended for the perfect pinky-orangey-red.
Being the pedant that I am, I tried to get the chocolate chip 'seeds' to sit in the right places and on the whole, they did. That was down to my very basic grasp of maths rather great baking skills though. And a pinch of luck I suspect.
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