New willow designs and prepping for our class tomorrow in #Lydd

Lovely winter sun encouraged us to get the materials ready, so on to the allotment to collect the willow that’s been soaking in the pond

We are going to be working on baskets and some star flowers at Lydd church, although we must remember to wrap up warm. The forecast is saying a major temperature drop 😬

This is the star flower design our beginners group will have a go at tomorrow

It has weaves and skills used in basketry , so a good opportunity to practice with both dried and fresh willow

On this sample flower I’ve used brown willow , buff willow and homegrown yellow and I’m pleased with the result

Our last class produced a great deal of waste……but I’m determined nothing is thrown so I usually use dry waste as kindling for the fire this evening. I think we will enjoy the warmth before the big freeze

My lovely neighbour on the allotment has donated some of his willow for tomorrow ….amazing golds, yellows and 🍊orange


Mary Stanford Life Boat House and sea defences

Yesterday’s sunshine was such a treat. The weather encouraged so so many people to do the gorgeous walk from Rye Harbour toward Winchelsea. Such a pleasure to experience the calls of different seabirds, watch flocks of turnstones flying above our heads and enjoy the sun reflected across the marsh and its network of waterways and tributaries.

The high tides this winter have piled the shingle higher than usual and exposed the original wooden sea defences around the Mary Stanford Life Boathouse. These would have been sited by human labour, and it is a testament to their effective structure and strength that they still exist today.

The Mary Stanford Lifeboat (ON661) was a vessel which capsized in Rye Harbour in 1928. The disaster was the worst for many years. It occurred on 15 November 1928 when the whole of the 17 man crew of the Mary Stanford Lifeboat were drowned, practically the whole male fishing population of the small town of Rye.

A memorial is held every year on 15th November at Rye Harbour church

Willow work getting us through the winter months

We are using our withy cuttings , or slips to make our own withy bed. Here’s the one we planted last year

These were plant plugs ie they had roots. We estimate 90% have taken so pleased with one year’s growth

This year we are simply pushing the slips, approx 18 ins long, into the ground. Because we’ve had so much rain, this is an easy job.

We hope to be making more willow products, like these….