The concept behind this series of workshops to do exactly as it said on the tin: to craft, to connect with others, and to create something beautiful. Phones were discarded after one or two compulsory snaps of the outrageously Instragam-worthy Heckfield interiors, designed by Ben Thompson, and flower installations by Kitten Grayson (pictured above); laptops were buried in our bags and we joyfully felt the weight of the world and our everyday pressures melt away as we got ready to immerse ourselves in the beauty and shared experience of crafting.
First up was basket weaving with the talented Felicity Irons. Learning to weave with Felicity at Heckfield place couldn't have been more perfect as her touch can be found in almost every corner: her bread baskets grace the tables, log baskets can be found alongside the hearths, her rugs are underfoot and even the headboards in the bedrooms have been deftly woven by her. That Heckfield is luxurious is a given, but more importantly, it is a space that has embraced the natural world; evident not just in these beautiful pieces, but in the biodynamic kitchen gardens, Skye Gyngell's culinary direction in Male and Hearth and the intoxicating blooms that fill the house, plucked from the 400 acres of parkland that the house is nestled within. It is an absolute joy to behold.
Felicity Irons, at Heckfield Place
In the presence of so much woven beauty, one would be forgiven for feeling a little intimidated as we got our hands on our first rushes; but under the guidance of our tutor, we miraculously learned the basics and just enough skill to each craft our own bread basket. Some were wonky, some resembled colanders, and some were utter perfection - but each and every one was our very own masterpiece.
Rush weaving, at Heckfield Place
My fingers and thumbs had never been in such a muddle, I repeatedly forgot which rush to pull, which one to water and which one to weave and my back was certainly a little sore after bending over a table for four hours, but rushes that had graced the River Ouse just days before had metamorphosed into something that could grace my kitchen table.
We had crafted, we had connected with our materials and to each other - and we had created something useful, sustainable and beautiful. That is certainly something to be proud of.
If you want to emulate Heckfield Place's natural style and grace, explore our collection of rush woven pieces and find out a little more about Felicity and her craft HERE.
Just like the beautiful Bread Basket above - thankfully made by Felicity, and not by me.