Heres a picture of my finished wreath, draped initially around the cormorant on the quay by chapel street, then in its final resting place on my front door
the wreath was made from the offcuts of the willow from our living willow sculpture, which we cut a few weeks back, see the course notes for the specific details, but its such a pliant, strong workable material, little wonder it used to be woven into baskets, many believe it was the inspiration for celtic knotwork in the great illuminated gospels of lindisfarne or the book of kells
so vibrant is willow, that you can just plant a stick of it and a tree will grow from this
heres us weaving our wreaths
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For actual instructions as to how to get here try Getting Here
For the Gardening Courses we walk up from the Hillcrest Centre Cafe
every thursday theres a lovely local produce market here, a great place to buy home made cakes and hand embroidered cards.
Jenny and Sallys route up to the clifftop is the most picturesque, but inevitably pretty gawdamn steep some of the time!
on the way we went up Nuns walk, there to gather some holly, ivy, mistletoe, pine branches and cones for the winter wreaths
afterwards it was through the graveyard of St Michaels church, walking over the gravestones! parts of the church are Norman/Romanesque, the round turret is definitely this old, probably the oldest building in Newhaven, though i think theres Neolithic remains up on the cliffs by the fort
after that theres a footpath past a garden with very comfy looking hens
next stop the boarded up old Newhaven PolyClinic, which was once the Newhaven Workhouse, a grim looking building!
‘Here we go around the Mulberry bush’, a song always associated with workhouses in my mind
after that its across a large open space, perfect for smashing the ice on puddles on a cold winters day
Then past the TV Mast, glorious views across seaford bay to the head at the end… the worlds most fabulous golf hole, like bashing a ball off the top of a cliff.
oh and the llama?! theers a blooming llama up there near peacehaven heights!
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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!