The perfect summer opportunity to escape to the country for those who are looking for something more than just a holiday and want to acquire a new life long skill.
On this three-day-retreat you will get the chance to connect to the roots of an ancient tradition whilst enjoying the natural sights and sounds of Atlow in rural Derbyshire. On this crafty retreat you will not only learn how to grow various types of willow but you will gain all the skills needed to create your own baskets. Over a series of relaxed workshops you will have a go at coppicing, manipulating and weaving willow grown on-site, by gaining these life long skills you will be keeping a traditional craftsmanship alive.
There will be time to relax and to explore the beautiful surroundings: get lost in the willow labyrinth where you will coppice fresh willow to use for your baskets, take a stroll through the woodland to the celtic tree circle, or even take a dip in the fresh gentle stream before enjoying the warmth of campfires to recharge and reflect.
In a very quiet and beautiful part of rural Derbyshire, 5 miles away from Ashbourne, close to Carsington Water and the Peak District National Park. The 21 acres of organic land is managed primarily for nature conservation. There is a large parkland running down to Henmore Brook with a moat - an English Heritage ancient monument - that was built on the crossings of lay-lines amongst other small pastures. There is a fresh stream running through the parkland, a secluded woodland with a celtic tree circle and most importantly a willow labyrinth and dome which will provide our fresh green willow for the basketry retreat. The land belongs to Earth Heart Housing Cooperative Community, who host many other camps on their stunning site happening throughout the year.
There is only camping option for residential stays which is included in price. The campsite is fully prepared for camps with a giant communal marquee, dry fire wood & fire-pits, composting toilets and a solar shower dome. There may be spare tents available if you don’t have your own. In the event of light rainfall there will be dry space provided under the marquee, in the event of heavy rainfall we have the option to move to the barn workshop of the Earth Heart community.
On the first day after arrival there will be time to set up tents and to settle in before having a light lunch and refreshments. We will head to the willow maze and dome to get familiar with the different varieties of willow, here you will learn how to grow them as well as foraging enough materials (green willow) for our baskets. Back at the campsite you will be learning about the different types of baskets and techniques to be able to start constructing your first piece. The evening will be spent by a campfire, there will be wholesome vegan food cooked and served for you.
On the second day you will carry on building and completing your basket, at midday a light lunch will be served for you. In the afternoon you will be able to start your second piece of basketry or you can also choose to have an afternoon off to go for a stroll and reconnect with nature in the timeless and peaceful Atlow. In the evening the vegan dinner will be cooked over the fire again.
On the last day you will construct and complete your second basket. As most people find it difficult to leave this magical place you will be able to spend the last night (sunday) camping on the field too with campfires and a cooked wholesome dinner.
About the tutor:
ILdiko Nagy is an established interdisciplinary artist with over 17 years experience teaching a range of arts and crafts to people of all abilities and backgrounds. With her Hungarian heritage, ILdiko is passionate about preserving ancient crafts such as willow weaving, basketry and willow sculpture. She has made a large range of baskets, sculptures and furniture that blend traditional methods with her joyous expressive creativity. Working with nature, encouraging creative self-expression and tackling ecological issues are key principles that are woven into her practice.
‘Excellent pace and very helpful tutor.'
‘This course was amazing, set at the right pace for beginners. Tutor was very helpful & patient. Definitely would come back to any of her courses.’
If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
£ 225 is the total cost of the retreat which includes:
Materials and all tools.
Willow coppicing and growing tuition.
3 days & nights camping (friday-sunday).
Unlimited refreshments (tea, coffee & biscuits).
Lunch and dinner every day (plates & cutlery will be provided)
If you prefer to not camp, please book a local B&B nearby.
Unfortunately the land doesn’t facilitate wheelchair access.