"Gather - Learn - Create" - our Joyful Midsummer Workshop

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 stunning eco-classroom! Complete with a handmade solid-wood kitchen made by a local craftsman, stained-glass panels in the compost-loo doors, two woodburning stoves for the winter, and incredible views of the surrounding countryside.

Our stunning eco-classroom! Complete with a handmade solid-wood kitchen made by a local craftsman, stained-glass panels in the compost-loo doors, two woodburning stoves for the winter, and incredible views of the surrounding countryside.

A carpet of wildflowers.

A carpet of wildflowers.

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!

All lined up and ready to go!

All lined up and ready to go!

Using my ancient, trusty sand-cushion and a rawhide mallet. And there’s the Tiniest Anvil In The World.

Using my ancient, trusty sand-cushion and a rawhide mallet. And there’s the Tiniest Anvil In The World.

A pile of sterling silver rings, all handmade by our guests today.

A pile of sterling silver rings, all handmade by our guests today.

Guests learned how to make a ring from solid sterling silver, and without the use of any electricity.

Guests learned how to make a ring from solid sterling silver, and without the use of any electricity.

The fruits of our labours.

The fruits of our labours.

…and, the aftermath!

…and, the aftermath!

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.

All ready for lunch with a view over the quarry and surrounding countryside.

All ready for lunch with a view over the quarry and surrounding countryside.

Caroline’s homemade focaccia and goats’ cheese tart, and Hannah’s organic green salad - baked and harvested that very morning!

Caroline’s homemade focaccia and goats’ cheese tart, and Hannah’s organic green salad - baked and harvested that very morning!

Relaxing after lunch with a glass of fizz.

Relaxing after lunch with 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!

Locally grown, pesticide free irises, foxgloves, and cornflowers.

Locally grown, pesticide free irises, foxgloves, and cornflowers.

Assessing the balance of the arrangement…

Assessing the balance of the arrangement…

Learning how to hand-tie so that the arrangement remains loose and relaxed.

Learning how to hand-tie so that the arrangement remains loose and relaxed.

Luscious peonies and romantic wild roses.

Luscious peonies and romantic wild roses.

An alternative use for a cafetière!

An alternative use for a cafetière!

Stained glass windows by local artist Vicky Boase. Find her on Instagram   @frosterleybazaar

Stained glass windows by local artist Vicky Boase. Find her on Instagram @frosterleybazaar

Summer encapsulated!

Summer encapsulated!

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.

We hope to bring together a similar event later in 2019 - please keep an eye on our Instagram @JewelleryHannah and @VerdeFlowers for announcements.

You know you wish you were here… maybe you can join us next time?

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