A Bright Future (course notes)

Week 4 – Biodegradable Christmas Wreathes
This handout has been created using the Alys Fowler article on the guardian online.
What you need
4/5 6ft long willow whips (you could also use dogwood)
Green material – holly, ivy, young yew branches or other pliable evergreen material
Brown material- seed heads such as teasels, Sedum spectabile, ergyngiums, eupatoriums, aquilegias, honesty, cardoon seed heads or anything pretty from the garden

What to do
Willow is soft and pliable, however if you try bending straight off it it will kink. You need to ‘warm it up’ first to encourage it to bend round. The best way to do this is to gently bend it in sections around your knee holding each end.
When you have done this create a circle with the middle section of the willow by crossing the two ends over and weaving the excess over itself to secure the circle (don’t worry about any ends sticking out). Once you have made one loop, start to weave a second piece of willow in, with the thick end at the opposite side so that the circle ends up roughly even thickness. Keep weaving in more whips until you have a substantial base. You want it to be firm, but not so tight that you don’t have spaces to push your green material in.
Once you have made your base, tie in a loop so that you can hang the wreath (do this now whatever you re doing with your wreath as it can be hard to find a suitable place once the green materials are in). Some people may like to stop now and keep this simple circle as the completed wreath but for those of you that want to decorate yours continue to read.
The next stage is where you can get creative; spray paint it, add decorations, fill with greenery or any other inspired ideas you may have. If you are going for a more traditional wreath start by filling out the base with some background, be that evergreen material or sedam flower heads. Keep poking and weaving material in,
You don’t need to use string to hold anything in place, but do find a bradawl or small screwdriver might be helpful for making places to poke new material in.
A degree of symmetry works well. If you’re lost, keep to a clock face: if you put a seed head at 2 o’clock, put another one at 4, 7 and 10 o’clock. If that’s all too obvious, invoke Pollock and go at it whichever way you want.
As it is hung outside, plenty of fresh things will keep very well. Edible wreaths make lovely presents. You can use herbs such as rosemary, bay and thyme to pick at for Christmas as well as dried chilies and cinnamon quills.
If you need to tie in material then I suggest raffia, string or fine strands of a phormium leaf as they all break down quickly, so your wreath can head straight to the compost when you’re done with it.
Once you’ve made your wreath, why not enter the guardian’s competition – you could win a £250 voucher to spend at Wiggly Wigglers

http://scrumptiousliving.wordpress.com/ – nice website!


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