Using natural resources to make useful things at our retreat with willow from the garden – Sustainable materials

Using our natural resources
At my retreat in Cornwall I have been looking at ways to use the natural resources that are already here to use in the projects I need to get started before the Spring.  I need to get some fencing done, build raise beds for our new kitchen garden and create some supports for the plants to grow up.  As we have lots of basket willows growing in a meadow they were the obvious choice for the job, so I have been researching the various ways people have used willow in the garden and I’ve found some fantastic creative things, take a look at my pinterest board for what has inspired me.

Supporting local craftspeople
Coincidentally just as I was starting to think about using willow in the garden and looking for inspiration, my business incubator was contacted by a local willow weaver, Sian Hill who runs workshops and creates amazing natural sculptures, she was looking for support to help fund and grow her small business.

Sharing resources
So like many of the self employed people we help with coaching and funding, we were also able to help with promotion, making sales happen, sharing our contacts and resources.

Willow weaving workshop
Last week Sian ran a workshop for us at our retreat for 28 local women who meet here for a social event we host every month.  With her superb guidance we made Christmas decorations using willow and had so much fun doing it, our kitchen was full of women, willow and lots of laughter!

I cut down lots of willow from our meadow to use in the workshop so the materials didn’t cost anything and it made for a very sustainable workshop!  Since the workshop Sian and lots of the women who attended the event came here to pick up some more of the cut willow.  Sian has been able to make more things to sell at Christmas markets and everyone else has made some great homemade presents for friends.

I’m looking forward to getting started on my own willow making projects at the retreat over the Winter, I shall let you know how I get on and share some pictures when I make something that doesn’t resemble a bird’s nest!

Here’s some of the willow things I would love to have in my garden.

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Posted in: Nature

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