Last weekend, on midsummer’s day, I co-hosted the most gorgeous event. We called it Gather - Learn - Create. Our guests enjoyed two creative short courses with a delicious homemade lunch in between.
Our venue was tucked-away Harehope Quarry, an old limestone quarry which has been lovingly cared for by Jill and Tom for over twenty years. Saved from becoming a landfill site (!) it’s now a hidden ecological haven, filled with buzzing wildflowers, peaceful pathways, bird-filled trees and shady bowers. The day was warm and balmy, perfect for a creative midsummer celebration.
Our guests spent their morning learning how to forge and create a pair of rings from sterling silver. I made sure to take along everything they would need. I raided my workshop for heat-proof mats, pliers, files, sterling silver, and (of course, as anyone who’s ever been to one of my workshops knows…) the Tiniest Anvil In The World. Everyone measured their own ring sizes, and I demonstrated how to work out the correct length of silver needed so that nothing goes to waste. We learnt how to line up each end of the silver together so that the solder will flow evenly across the join, before using forging techniques to make them round and into a ‘proper’ ring. Although we’d only planned on having time to make one ring each, everyone was able to make two!
We broke the day with a delicious vegetarian lunch of homebaked focaccia, goats’ cheese tart, vegan chilli and organic home-grown green salads, rubber-stamped with a giant bowl of strawberries and a glass of fizz.
I was working with my friend and fellow creatrix Caroline Beck of Verde Flowers. Caroline is a flower farmer and florist, growing an acre of seasonal flowers, foliage, grasses and herbs on a farm near Durham, supplying weddings, parties and clients like The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. No airmiles, no pesticides, just beauty.
After lunch, Caroline and I swapped over, and those who’d been making rings in the morning went off exploring, to gather seasonal flowers, grasses and foliage from around the quarry. They spent the afternoon learning how to create gorgeous traily-wild hand-tied bouquets - with absolutely everything local and pesticide free!
And we even had a little souvenir stand; biodegradable coconut-fibre pots with locally grown herbs, and a scattering of Hannah’s jewellery including some of her famous Neolithic arrowhead talismans.