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Welcome to the woods!

NEWSLETTER

I would like to tell you more about a great location we began developing last year to host our workshops and courses and would like to share with you our plans from May onwards.

Birtley Woodland Art Space is a community art, crafts and wellbeing space for people to come together and learn from professional instructors passionate about sharing and passing on their knowledge and skills to others.

Helping people gain new skills and knowledge isn’t only a commitment, but also a passion. Co-founders Ruth Wheeler and I (Lorraine Ellery Matthews) offer a wide variety of workshop experiences and courses between us and are growing our offering by inviting Artists, Makers and Wellness instructors to join us from time to time to continue to make the learning experience both interesting and fun.

Birtley Woodland Art Space is nestled within the woodland beyond the lake on the Birtley Estate in Bramley, Guildford a beautiful Surrey Hills location, so picturesque with its lakes and gardens and woodland walks and not surprisingly it is classified as an “AONB” an area of outstanding natural beauty

Ruth and I are both members of Surrey Hills Enterprises a membership organisation supporting local enterprises. We first met at the Pippfest festival in Dorking in September 2018 exhibiting under our own independent brands ‘ScuptIt’ and ‘Hedges & Hurdles Country Skills & Crafts.’ It wasn’t until several further discussions at Surrey Hills member events the following year that we began carving out a collaborative approach and offering at the Birtley Estate. We launched early last year, ran a few workshops in March and then we all know what happened next!

We are now back running workshops and looking at further developing Birtley Woodland Art Space within the Birtley Estate, with plans to utilise even more of the woodland and surrounding spaces available on the 48-acre site, we will have further announcements to share in the coming weeks!

What arts and skills can people learn at Birtley Woodland Art Space?

At the beginning of each year during the coppicing season I teach volunteers including members of the HALO Project (a charity supporting young adults with learning difficulties), about the tools and skills needed to pollard and process the Willow grown on the estate. The picture above shows one of the groups revisiting the Willow coppice recently.

The Willow is used for many forms of art and craft including the creation of Plant Supports and teaching trainees the heritage skill of weaving traditional Willow Wattle Hurdles. I also buy in specialist basket Willow from Somerset for my varied workshops making Butterflies, Dragonflies and Flower sculptures to Foraging Baskets, Tension Trays and my unique Botanical & Willow combinations of crafts. Hazel, Chestnut and other natural materials are also coppiced locally to be used to create Wood Art of various forms.

Ruth teaches traditional wood carving at Birtley, using locally sourced wood to make 2d Relief Art Work and Signs plus offering her popular Pyrography workshops (meaning: to draw with fire). Ruth is inspired by the local Surrey landscape, particularly Birch Trees, Ferns, Woodlands, Landscapes as well as Indian, African and Maori cultures.

In addition to working with wood, Ruth is a qualified Yoga and Nia instructor. As a fusion practice, Nia integrates wisdom and practices from a diverse range of influences through the lens of the body to create a holistic practice that enhances overall health and well-being for everybody. To stimulate movement and energetic variety, Nia blends the Martial Arts, Dance Arts and Healing Arts which are comprised of 9 Movement Forms: Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido; Jazz, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance; and Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, Yoga.

Additional skills visitors can learn in 2021 include: Spoon Carving, Felt Making; Soap Stone Carving, Ceramics, Decoupage On Wood, Natural Wreath Making, Mindfulness plus seasonal art and crafts and activities offered by guest artists and makers.

Birtley Woodland Art Space is also a great location for private group events, something we are looking forward to running more of in 2021 onwards, these are very popular so need to be planned as much in advance as is possible. Catering options can be requested too.

WHAT’S ON IN MAY?

We have a varied selection of training courses and workshops coming up at various venues including Birtley Woodland Art Space in May:

Spring Willow Craft Workshop
Saturday 1st May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Plant Support Workshop
Saturday 8th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Willow In The Woods
Friday 14th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Plant Support Workshop
Saturday 15th May
Private Woodlands, Smallfield, Horley

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Ruth’s Spring Pyrography Workshop
Saturday 15th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Weekend Wood Carving Experience
Saturday 15th May & Sunday 16th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Earth Goddess – Women In the Woods Series
Friday 21st May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Botanical Dreams
Saturday 22nd May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Plant Support Workshop
Saturday 28th May
Birtley Woodland Art Space, Bramley, Guildford

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Botanical Dreams
Sunday 29th May
Flitton’s Nursery, Woodcote, Surrey

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Surrey Artists Open Studio

This coming June, in collaboration with Surrey Artist Open Studio (SAOS), ten amazing artists and makers will take part in an Open Studio, to be hosted in and around Birtley Woodland Art Space. They will join Ruth and Lorraine to exhibit their work displaying paintings; textiles; mosaics; wood and ceramic sculpture; Willow art; 2d art; jewellery; metal and green woodwork and also outdoor furniture.
See here for information about the Artists and Makers.

REGISTER HERE TO VISIT

“Art In The Woods” is the name given to the taster workshops to be delivered each Saturday during Open Studios’ by the Surrey Artist Open Studio Group members. The first taster workshop is on Saturday 5th June and the following two Saturday’s thereafter.

BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW

Thank you for your continued support, we look forward to welcoming you to our further events this year at one of our fantastic locations.

We will be back at Sussex Prairies and Priory Farm in June and will be bringing more courses delivered by Paul later in the year.

Lorraine & Paul

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