Willow Sessions at Kirkleatham Walled Garden

Kirkleatham Walled Garden reopened its gates to visitors last August after being closed for more than 30 years. The Grade II-listed garden was built in the 17th century and formed an integral part of the Turner estate. The historic attraction has been restored back to its former glory and now features formal gardens, including a dye garden, a science garden and a glasshouse; plus there’s a café, shop and pavilion for hosting large gatherings.

Sylvan Skills was invited to teach four heritage crafts willow sessions in this stunning scenery, beginning a series of heritage crafts workshops put on by Kirkleatham Museum.

The workshops took place in July and August, two of the sessions were organised especially for families.

The participants came from surrounding towns and villages, and were given the opportunity to create plant supporting obelisks, framed baskets including baskets for carrying or displaying flowers, woven panels of various sizes and bird-feeders which could also be used as garlic holders. In addition there was also time to make small items such as willow fishes, stars and even besom brooms.

Which tools?

Participants learnt which tools to use when weaving willow and how to ensure the ideal shape of the final object. During lunch breaks there was plenty of time to enjoy the garden and have a friendly chat.

It was another great opportunity for Ruth to pass on her skills and inspire people to find out more about heritage craftsmanship. Look out for more Sylvan Skills workshops at the garden around Christmas time.
«Hi Ruth, just to say a HUGE thank you for Wednesday. Both Shirley and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Can’t wait to get together again for some more tuition. Thanks again. Paul x»

Sylvan Skills works with schools, communities and special interest groups to provide 1 or 2 day willow weaving workshops to create practical items that can be taken home by participants. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to find out more.

Photos & videos by Chris Bradburn

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