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Friday, 10 February 2017

Making Winter - retreat with Silver Pebble

Last weekend I spent an amazing two days with a group of ladies who were brought together to learn new crafts and skills by Emma, also known as Silver Pebble.

Emma is writing a book where she looks at all the elements of why and what living through the darker colder months is all about.
The book will be out later this year, so watch out for it in Autumn and you can get yourself prepared to snuggle down and deal with winter.


My trip to the cute village of Reach was to take part in the Making Winter retreat, a weekend of making some great items and learning new crafts, with good food and great company. Can I just say to anyone who is a bit shy about doing this, you never have to worry, women in groups making craft will always be a laugh, everyone will be nervous about their skill level, and it's not a competition, just bloomin' good fun.

We also went on a nature ramble where Emma shared her expert knowledge of plants, we discovered the first signs of spring, blessed by beautiful soft warm winter sun. These dried plants below are great hiding and nesting places for ladybirds.





I was really pleased to advance my crochet along, with the expert crochet guru Jemima, who, as it turns out lives near me in Buckinghamshire so I also plan to learn lace knitting with her, if she can be persuaded to organise a group lesson.  We made some fingerless gloves with beautiful yarn supplied by Loop London, the mecca of wool shops in Islington. This is the second retreat that I've attended where Loop have sent us goodies so I paid them a visit in Islington to say thanks and came away with some great items. 

Loop London's pattern book celebrating 10 years




Emma is also known for her silver jewellery and so she taught us how to make a mould in a latex putty and then cast a silver pendant using a silver clay, which I've never tried before but plan to get straight on the internet now and order some for myself.  I cast a little acorn and some of the other crafters pressed foliage into the mould and cast shells which they had collected themselves from beach combing. The materials can be bought from Cookson Gold and Metal Clay Ltd.  I'm going to play with it some more and write about the technique in more detail here.




We also learnt to weave with willow and rush, another craft that I want to do a lot more of, how satisfying to make your own baskets. 
Our teacher Val, helped us make a candle holder/ bird feeder depending on which way up you have it, and the basics of a wreath. I want to do my own basket so let's nag Val into doing a course just in that shall we?



Our last group activity was with Emma and Lu Summers, who showed us that anyone can draw nature, whether your style is traditional and illustrative, or stylised into pattern forming and design.

We were given a useful goody bag of notepads, pens and pencils, and a gorgeous book handwritten by Emma, this inspiring book is filled with projects perfect for when you are nesting away in the warm.

I'm so glad I booked with Emma (go to Silver Pebble ) this was great value, well organised and full of quality craft projects.  It's been a while since I came away from a class itching to do more of it. I will let you know how I get on with the silver and willow.  

Val the willow weaving teacher is also known as DottyCookie so let's all nag her to set up more classes eh?

Cozy wishes from me Janice Issitt

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