Monday, 4 October 2010

Create! At Walford Mill Craft Centre

This post is going to be have been warned! I will split it up in smaller bite sizes - here is "episode one".....

To set the scene:

Walford Mill is a complex of lovely old brick buildings set next to the river Allen on the edge of the beautiful town centre of Wimborne with it's 1300 year old Minster and Georgian houses. The mill buildings have been converted into a craft gallery, workshops and bistro cafe arranged around a central courtyard. The old mill leet meanders past the courtyard to the Allen river which is quite shallow and crystal clear as it passes the complex and flows on under an adjacent ancient bridge. The staff who run the Mill are a delight, so friendly and helpful, they organise some amazing exhibitions and events - I had a very enlightening guided tour of their current exhibition of Lois Walpole's recycled basketry works - Fab! Such inspiring work enthusiastically described and beautifully displayed. The Create event has been held annually for the past few years. Local makers are invited to give a demonstration of their skills during the weekend while musicians perform for the visitors.

Saturday was a surprisingly sunny and warm Autumn day considering that it had rained so much on Friday, we were nearly flooded out at home! We arrived early and set up our gazebo under the trees next to the courtyard. Alongside us was Bill Crumbleholme with his Raku pottery kiln, Abbott Street Forge and Peter Moors making greenwood chairs. Further around the yard were Helen Godfrey wire sculptress, Min Fletcher-Jones jewellery maker, Annie Jeffery stone sculptress and Tiggy Rawling with her textile art.

First a little about Bill's Raku pots. He made four firings on Saturday which were met with gasps from the gathered audience. And here's why:

Red hot pots!

Slowly cooling down and showing their glaze colours. From here the pots are put into sawdust in flame proof containers, the sawdust immediately catches fire and removes any oxygen from the glaze. When the flames die down, the pots are removed and cleaned.

The finished article, every one unique and beautiful. Raku is a fascinating process.

Then next was Peter Moors with his green woodworking. He makes all sorts of outdoor furniture, hurdles, turns bowls and whittles some lovely tactile pendants. Here he is working on one of his creations.

Abbott Street Forge work in iron, anything from railings to the most intricate dragons! Look at this character, he's amazing.

They fired up a portable forge and gave demonstrations on Saturday, but sadly it rained too heavily on Sunday to risk lighting it.

More to follow.........

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