The dates for the Alde Valley Spring Festival are from the 21st April to the 20th May. As usual there will be a great range of art on display and also local makers showcasing their work. The workshops will be open at weekends from 10am – 6pm.
There have been some exciting developments with the building of a dedicated space to run craft workshops and a redevelopment of the woodworking shop to provide two workshop spaces. The renowned Suffolk chair maker, Jim Parsons, will be moving in to his new workshop very soon.
A full programme of courses will be launched shortly, including willow work, spoon carving, rustic chairmaking, introduction to green woodwork and a new course, building a shed. This course is suitable for complete beginners and will introduce basic hand skills, design and sourcing and choosing materials. Keep an eye on the website for further details.
It was another great festival at White House Farm with a big range of makers and artists. I was busy carving and making a new shaving horse dedicated to bowl carving. I was inspired by a recent article in Fine Woodworking by David Fisher who makes truly inspirational bowls with very fine detailing.
We may be running some courses early next year so keep an look out on the website it you are interested.
The dates for the spring festival are;
Sat 21st April ~ Sunday 20th May 2018
The Alde Valley Spring FestivalCelebrating Food, Farming, Landscape & the Arts
I have just finished, a pair of oak benches for the labyrinth at St.Andrews. The Quaker group in St.Andrews decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary with the creation of a labyrinth next to the museum. On reaching the centre there were to be two simple benches for reflection after walking the path. The benches are in local oak and are gently curing so as to fit the central space. On one there is a quotation from George Fox, an early Quaker. The letter cutting was done by a local craftsman.
“Be still and cool thy own mind and spirit”
“George Fox 1658”
The photos show the benches before installing and oiling and they look rather tall, they have been built with long legs so they can be securely fixed into the ground.
I am able to take commissions for making outdoor benches from quite simple designs through to elegant seats with arms and backs. Prices start from £500, please get in touch if you are interested in talking through an idea. They make great memorials for people and events.
We are running a new course, Christmas Willow bird sculpture at RSPB Minsmere. On this one day introductory course there will be a chance to learn how to make a willow bird sculpture. Suitable for beginning willow workers and the more experienced.
I will be demonstrating spoon carving again at the autumn Cornucopia festival. I will have a selection of spoons and bowls for sale and also unusual ones to look at, also Eric Roger’s “Making Traditional English Wooden Eating spoons” booklet for sale. It is a good beginners introduction along with Wille Sundqvist’ carving book and DVD which have been reissued. The festival runs from 17th September to 3rd of October but I will only be there on the first and last weekends. Check the White House Farm, Cornucopia website for further details.
Our next course is at the education centre at RSPB Minsmere, a great location which some of you may have seen on Springwatch. We will be making willow sculptures of the iconic Bittern which lives in the reed beds. By the end of the day you will have learnt how to make small willow sculptures and have a Bittern to take home. We visited the site a few days ago and were really lucky to see a Bittern in full boom.
On tuesday we had great weather for our short course, making willow plant supports. This was sponsored by Ipswich Building Society who run a series of subsidised workshops for members. They have an interesting programme so it may be worth opening an account with them
There is a great new event this weekend at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. I will be carving Anglo Saxon eating spatulas, apparently when the Romans left they took their spoons with them and were not commonly used in England until early Medieaval times ! but then I may be wrong as there doesnt seem to be much reliable information available on the subject.
We will be running a willow course at Peasenhall in Suffolk where you can come and learn to make a willow plant support. The one day course will introduce you to the basics of willow weaving or if you are more experienced you can add a sculptural element to your plant support. It will take place at the village hall on Sunday the 13th March from 11-4pm and include all materials and a light lunch. The cost will be £40 and to book a place please send a cheque to ;
Jon Warnes 12 Tomline Road, Felixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 7QW
I bought this DVD “How to make a Welsh stick chair” by Hugh Roberts a couple of years ago and never got round to having a look at it ! Over the new year I rediscovered it and started watching. Its a two disc set packed full of information and takes you right through the entire process of making a traditional chair from material selection, tools and their use and sharpening through to assembly and sharpening. I have seen a number of Hugh’s chairs and know him to be a really skilled and fine maker. I am not sure if he still running courses but if he is and you want to make a Welsh stick chair it may be worth checking out.
If you are interested in Welsh stick chairs it is really worth reading “Welsh stick chairs” by John Brown. it is packed full of information and great to read even if you never intend to make a chair !