Making things from locally sourced materials…..and coming up with ideas for a pop up market….

Obviously we are trying to keep our feet on the ground…but we are inspired by:

The church – this lovely brass engraving is in All Saints church Lydd

The landscape – Romney Marsh has so much amazingly varied landscapes and views

The sea – we want to include references to the sea in the work we produce

Local materials – we are using wool from Romney Marsh sheep, collected fruit and vegetables to dye the wool, hedgerow materials to make baskets, willow to make plant supports, decorative fish stars eats and baskets,  plant materials to inspire patterns, drawings and prints


The wool turned into a delightful little yellow jug and we photographed it inside All Saints church and next to a black & white photo of the church!

The basket is an example,of us  learning some new weaves such as ‘ chasing’ for the sides and a simple trac border ….. 

 luckily parents and carers at Brookland school got a chance to finish their baskets with handles…..

And someone in the group managed to complete a boat basket too

Making more wool dye today…..

I’ve been given some frozen elderberries from last year and I’ve boiled them for 1 hr to release their juices 

 as you can see they are incredibly deep red and I’m hoping this will transfer to the mordanted wool

Next I’m going to boil the wool then simmer for 1/2 hour in the juice plus water to cover the wool and then…..results to follow

Mordanting wool

Today is the day – we are going to do some more experimental veg/ fruit dyeing. 
As Summer ambles along bringing loads of exciting produce and flowers we are thinking:

 brown fennel

Elder berries

Red onion skins

Hibiscus/ Mallow flowers


Marigolds (deadheaded so you can appreciate the flowers first)


Dyers coreopsis

Hollyhocks (dead headed)

Madder ( need to get these plans growing in the Spring)

Comfrey ( love this plant)

Wild carrot

Sea kale

I’m currently using this recipe to prepare the wool 

 25g alum2 tsp cream of tartar (optional, an acid modifier used to brighten colour or some natural dyes)

1 litre water, or enough to cover

Place the alum and cream of tartar into the pan with a little boiling water – the heat helps the compounds dissolve. Stir until completely dissolved. Add enough water to cover the yarn and stir thoroughly.
Add the clean raw romney marsh wool
Squeeze the excess liquid from the yarn and transfer to the pan. Heat the liquid slowly and simmer gently for 1 hour.

Learning about SKIBS and Upsetting – willow workshop at Brookland school

our evening class with parents & carers of children attending Brookland school #romneymarsh

our tutor Christiane is working with us for 3 consecutive sessions to teach us how to make a basket with a handle

these are photos from session 1 : making the base


here are two examples:


all of the students completed their basket base ready for next week…..when we try UPSETTING ……find out what this is …SIGN UP TO OUR BLOG



A BIG THANK YOU go to Nikki and Vicky at Brookland school for organising the session to take place in the school hall…


also to Lottery funding for supporting us to continue our HOP HUB project providing traditional skills to rural communities…..Big Lottery Logo

Wet felting group on the hottest day of the year….


yesterday a new group got together to make wet felt rectangles, the work was experimental using raw #romneymarsh sheep’s wool, plus dyed wool.We tried mixing beetroot dyed wool with pomegranate and golden rod colours. Each student’s work was really creative and ……most importantly everyone had fun!




here we all are inside All Saints church Lydd – perfect temperature …many thanks go to Revd Chris and churchwarden Pat for their enthusiasm for our traditional skills workshops and HOP Hub project

follow our blog to see what we make and any other opportunities for learning new skills or revisiting techniques….photo-13




Willow and its many uses

We are currently working with local Romney Marsh primary schools to make willow baskets, plant supports and stars. We are collecting up the cuttings from the workshops ready to make drawing charcoal…..




important that you peel the willow stubs, just remove the outer layer of the brown willow with a gardening knife…..and then find a tin to put them in, light your wood stove and in goes the tin …making sure you’ve drilled some holes in the lid………Ive used a Harrogate toffee tin…  this can be added to the fire at any time, although I recommend putting it in at the end of the evening and then the process happens overnight…



the next morning the tin is cold and amongst the ashes in the wood stove …open the lid and here you have perfect charcoal for drawing … no cost!

Please note the holes drilled into the lid – clearly shown in this photo…this is important