Our day started with a stroll round Helen's lovely willow garden to touch and smell the range of potential materials for our weaving. Mugs of coffee in hand we sat in bright sunshine and learned some of the history of this ancient craft with its multitude of uses.
Helen encourages active listening and we quickly had different reeds and types of willow to practice basic skills and just play around with the material. She encouraged us to explore the feel of the various sizes and 'bendiness' of these natural materials so we could begin to appreciate its qualities for ourselves.
We were each able to choose our own projects for the day and in no time at all were busy planning and gathering our reeds. The patience and skill needed soon became apparent! As with all experts, Helen made it look much easier than it was, but she encouraged and motivated us to resolve problems through practice and observation. I was amazed at how totally absorbed we all became, weaving away in companionable peace.
With thanks to Helen Campbell and Mary Warren.
Words by Pat Dew, a first time willow weaving student at the ripe age of 61 years (at this point in time).