Over the past few years there have been a number of articles about the Farm, the new development of the Centre and more recently about Trossachs Yurts. many of these have been as a result of support from Stirling Enterprise. You can read these:
A Natural Home Lover Homeplus Scotland July/Aug 2007
I am really excited about welcoming two new artists to West Moss-side this summer. Sara Keith is a textile artist - creating the most exquisite pieces. ... Did you see her work in the Forth Valley Open Studio exhibition? - Natural Dyeing, Japanese stitching (Sashiko) and amazing electroforming with silver and gold. STILL PLACES : First workshop 6/7th August Natural Dyeing - a must - so book now by contacting West Moss-side.
Forth Valley Open Studios: For the second year West Moss-side and this year 'Art in the Yurt' will be open between 11th June and 19th June 10 - 5.00pm each day and till 7.00 on Sun 12th, Wed 15th and Sat 18th....
Time to look forward to the spring. The pink - footed geese are in the sky and curlew, peewit, raven and owls are all a-courting. The Centre has been a hive of activity - natural paper making, willow square baskets, and a day of Scottish birch craft - and more coming up.
Yoga on a Monday morning and painting on Wednesday mornings...
There are delays in getting the new Trossachs Yurts website up and running - so bear with me - I am adding information about the yurts and how to book etc on this website - you'll see a button on the menu.
Every body has their tales about the ash cloud, but mine has an additional twist of international politics. It is the story of these beautiful rafters for the Trossachs yurts made by Nurlan in Kyzyl Tuu in Kyrgyzstan heading for West Moss-side.
West Moss-side is opening the doors for the Forth Valley Open Studios 12th - 20th June. Downstairs the gallery will display paintings by Darren Rees - large and small. Upstairs in the hayloft Kate Sankey will be at work twiddling away, and there will be work of the West Moss-side artists and tutors on display and for sale - willow baskets, rush weaving, felt creations, batik, natural paper and print pieces and more. There will be West Moss-side homebaking every day and special workshops sessions - Come and learn how to 'strip the willow' or make funky felt flowers with Lynn Ramsbottom (Thursday 17th 2.00pm - 4.00pm booking required). The brochure for Forth Valley Open Studios will be widely available early May - check out the website.
The winter is longer and deeper than ever before. The clear skies and very low temperatures have given wonderful landscapes and that very special dry and crunchy snow underfoot. The hoare frost has grown day by day untill the whole place is exquisitly beautiful...BUT...the cattle need to have water each day and feeding them has been done on skis!!
Don't forget that there are great workshops coming up in January. MakingIrish creels with Geoff Forrest is NOT to be missed - there are still a few places.
Winter is here … but Christmas is around the corner … The Christmas tree has been cut from the bog (a self seeded Lodge Pole Pine in the wrong place!) and is decorated with all sorts of festive things including reindeer, camels and garlands made from West Moss-side soft rush.
I hope your Christmas planning, shopping and making is going well! But just in case you were thinking about an unusually creative gift to give to a friend or someone specially close … why not consider giving a gift voucher for a workshop at West Moss-side.
RSPB Volunteer & Farmer Alliance 2009 records six more bird species at West Moss-side, including RED List species : Cuckoo, House sparrow, Lapwing, Skylark, Song thrush, Spotted flycatcher, Starling, Tree pipit and Yellowhammer .
A day spent with Joan Carrigan on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada
I had a fantastic trip to Vancouver in May and spent time on Salt Spring Island. Joan had visited West Moss-side Centre and ran a weekend masterclass in Cedar Bark Baskets of the NW Pacific in 2007 – beautiful baskets were made from material gathered, prepared and sent over from Canada by her.
Sorry Sam - somebody's thumb got in the way!
Two years later mine still has pride of place in the Centre – I particularly love the Bear Grass (Silver Grass) which is incorporated into the pattern (more of that below).
The amazing cedar heritage of the NW
Pacific First Nations has fascinated me for many years and it was so special to see and work with the material from the tree to the making stage.
SPRING.. SPRING.. BOUNCE.. ACTION.. CREATE.. GET LIVING.. NEW.. SPRING.. SPRING...
STOP PRESS: Still places for Square Willow Workwith Jane Wilkinson on the weekend 25th/26th April. You will be making a very attractive but highly functional traditional Shopper. Beat the plastic bags in style!
Martin bravely offered to come all the way from Bedfordshire for the weekend. This was to replace the previously arranged workshop at the Scottish Basket Maker’s Circle AGM last November which had to be cancelled following the sad death of beeskep maker Ian Beatty.
Camels, reindeer and all things Christmassy
are being created...
Its the time of year for harvesting willow from the farm. I've just started the long job - viminalis for willow structures and Flanders Red for basketry and then there is my special collection in the garden of different willow varieties. I brought back some new varieties from Shetland including Faroese willow - I'm curious to see how this one grows here!
Its also the time of year to maintain the numerous wonderful willow
dens, domes and tunnels which have been planted in the local primary
schools and villages nearby...
The wood burning stove is lit and its time to book yourself on an autumn/winter workshop!
The past few weeks have been very special. West Moss-side was the venue for
a wonderful wedding for Alex and Bron - pictures will soon be here for
you to see.
We've also had a fantastic day of Batik, a day creating the most
stunning Felt Wall Hangings and then there was a great day (and the sun
shone!) of Yurt Building. These courses will return in the New Year
for those who were disappointed not to get a place this time.
The courses with a Christmas flavour are filling quickly - sorry
the Birch Craft Workshop is already full - but how about one of these?
Here goes - I'm not really blogging am I? The first of the year!!
West Moss-side has had a really busy holiday season. My nephew Ed Wade Martins of Moving Sounds was up for Christmas and we talked alot about climate change, peak oil and transition towns. He's been working with schools in Perth and brings his infectuous enthusiasm for making a difference and effecting change in the quality of how people live.
On the 28th December there was an afternoon and evening of yurts, felt and camels. Twenty five friends and families from Thornhill and Kippen came to West Moss-side. It was a real taster for the Yurt building workshop. Paul Millard of Red Kite Yurts came with a yurt which was put up in the afternoon and in the evening he showed slides from his recent trip to Krykistan. There were lots of traveller's tales from Krykistan, Mongolia and China. We ate typcally - mutton stew with apricots and rice and feasted on nuts and honey brought back from the Caucases and real yogurt - but no fermented mare's milk!
Then there was the arrival of Rhona from Shetland via Lairg. Rhona is a beautiful 6 year old black and white Shetland cow who has joined the Boquhapple herd. She is one of two new cows - the other came a few weeks back called Tara. Tara is a heifer and is red and white. Both are expecting calves in the next few months. Watch this space!
Another treat over the holiday period was joining the traditional Thornhill walk up a local hill - Ben Gulipen in the Menteith Hills followed by an invitation to all, back at West Moss-side and a Science 'Show' from Ben Craven. Ben had some suprises in store - exploding balloons, and producing flames out of the palm of his hands. You should visit Ben's website to see what he gets up to.
So - for the up-coming events at West Moss-side. Next weekend it's a full house for Catherine Davies' Traditional Basket Weaving weekend workshop. But there are still places on the Totally Natural Paper Making and Batik workshops.
So for now - all the best for the New Year and hope to see you here at West Moss-side soon.
The pink-footed geese have settled back for the winter now and the clocks have just changed! So its time for the wood-burning stove in the hayloft workshop and warming soups!
Autumn calving is finished with Gean (my young heifer) the last to produce. I have four very beautiful bull-calves – shame they weren’t heifers! I’m not long back from 5 days on Shetland – admiring cows and participating in the annual gathering and AGM of the Scottish Basket Maker’s Circle. A wonderful time! I studied with Anelma a Finnish rush and birch bark weaver. I am very proud of my piece which has joined the work in the exhibition area at the Centre. I also came back with a hen basket – made by one of the other tutors – Ted Kelly from Co. Sligo. This is made out of oat straw and I’m told that the chickens queue up to lay eggs in them.
Christmas is coming! I think that the workshops pre-Christmas will give you new skills and inspiration for presents and maybe the workshops in the New Year might make great Christmas presents too. Special GIFT VOUCHERS available – which can be redeemed on any course at any time.
The winter e-newsletter has just gone out - if you would like to receive information about what is happening and what is coming up please let me know by letting me know by clicking here. You can see the full newsletter here.