If you pick up a copy of “My Weekly Special” you will see that I have been featured in the “people” section by author Claire Saul. The article provides an insight into my personal story of how and why I dramatically changed career, I do hope it will help and inspire others who are going through a similar experience!
If you pick up a copy of January 2020 Surrey Life magazine you will see Paul and our business featured prominently in an article written by author #ClaireSaul. The article focuses on the Heritage Crafts Association’s “Red List’, of endangered crafts such as Wattle Hurdle Making. We have made this craft viable in our business by offering popular training courses between October and March, passing on the skill to others. I (Lorraine) will also deliver courses to make mini-wattle hurdles this year used for garden border edging, I replace Hazel predominantly used by Paul with Willow that I harvest locally.
If you would like to join our next Wattle Hurdle Making & Coppicing Training Course on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd February you will need to be quick as we only have two places remaining: See here for more information and to book.
The cover photo of the article as also featured above was taken by a young fellow Surrey Hills Enterprise member #lukewhatleybigg Luke also created our promotional film at Hill House Farm back in January 2019, see here: https://youtu.be/g8AfWFwii-c
The second photo used in the article was taken by Beckie Wingrove another fellow #surreyhillsenterprisesgroup member. This is a favourite of mine, the photo was taken during a workshop held in collaboration with The Salt Box last year.
Collaboration and supporting each other’s businesses are very important to Surrey Hills Enterprises and it’s members and I look forward to telling you more about further collaborations for 2020 very soon!
We can now all finally look forward to getting outside and spending time in the great outdoors enjoying the company of other like-minded people. Step into my world and join me, Lorraine to learn how to create your own Willow Art and Sculptures in a morning, afternoon or full-day workshop suitable for beginners and people of all ages and abilities! It’s relaxing and great fun plus I have patience in bucket loads so don’t worry you will leave content and with an art piece to be proud of!
Browse through the selection of events we have planned for this Spring held at several locations within the Surrey Hills including the picturesque location of Birtley Woodland Art Space in Bramley, Guildford; private woodlands in Smallfield, Horley and Flitton’s Nursery & Plant Centre, Woodcote, Wallington.
We have experiences for adults and teenagers as well as those designed with families in mind. Learn how to create a beautiful Butterfly, Dragonfly, Flower and Dream Catcher or create a selection of Plant Supports including Trellis and Obelisks for your garden. Living Willow Harlequin Trees can look amazing standing up to 6ft in height and we have different styles of Bird Feeders and planters for you to weave too!
It’s great working with other artists and makers, our Botanical Dreams Workshop is run together with Garden Designer, Renée Canter and our Birtley Woodland Workshops with Wood Artist & Sculptor, Ruth Wheeler.
If it’s a group booking you are interested in or a themed event then please contact me, Lorraine, to discuss further. I can host your private event at your own outdoor location (if suitable) or you can bring your group to one of my locations, the choice is yours! Make contact to learn my availability and to book.
I love running my workshops, they are really enjoyable but don’t take my word for it, see what others have to say:
“Great crafts and lovely teachers. We have a few crafty builds in our garden now including an Hazel arch, hearts and obelisk ”, facebook review by Samantha Ryan, March 2021
“Highly recommend Lorraine’s Willow class. Myself and my Mum attended the bird feeder class today and loved it. Clear instructions and help when you need it. All covid safe. I hope to come back. Thank you”, facebook review, Caz Councell, September 2020
This is me with my Willow bounty following coppicing at Priory Farm Estate, South Nutfield in March. We are expecting our workshops at Priory Farm to commence again in June.
There is one thing I know and that’s time with your Mother is so precious! Whether you plan to send flowers or other gifts via the post this Mothers day I know more than anything you would prefer to be spending face to face, quality time with her! We may not be able to do this on Mother’s Day itself this year but we CAN plan ahead and give her a gift you can both look forward to and share together!
MOTHERS DAY SPECIAL OFFER BELOW!
This coming Spring I have a wide selection of Willow Craft & Wood Craft workshop experiences for you to share with your Mum and other friends and family in your life that are so special to you. I also have a choice of locations for you to choose and if you prefer I can arrange a private workshop for you to host in your own garden!
“Highly recommend Lorraine’s willow class. Myself and my Mum attended the bird feeder class today and loved it. Clear instructions and help when you need it. All covid safe. I hope to come back. Thank you.” Cas, facebook review.
The locations we have spread out across Surrey Hills & Sussex, here are just a few:
I also have a Mothers Day special offer, just for our readers. Enter the following promo code on booking for two people in one of our Spring or Summer workshops to receive a 10% discount (offer valid until Mothers Day 2021):
Promo code: LOVEYOUMUM
Your safety (and ours) is very important and we will continue to review our risk assessments and ensure we are following Government guidelines. For more information please see here: Health & Safety
Ever fancied trying Woodland inspired Arts but not sure which skill you would prefer to learn? We, Lorraine and Ruth (head to our Facebook page to find out more about us), are combining our own skills and years of experience to bring you the opportunity to try various arts classes in a taster day down in Birtley Woods.
We both specialise in different techniques and you will have many choices on the day which include Wood Carving, Pyrography, Campfire Whittling or creating a Bird Feeder, Willow Dream Catcher, Hair Wreath and more.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, class numbers are limited so head over to our bookings page now to secure your first choice of class.
Arts can be tailored to adults or children and you will be able to choose three classes which will last around 60-90 minutes. Skill sets will differ and you work at your own pace to create beautiful and unique pieces which you will be able to take home to decorate your own house and garden.
Art sessions take place in the woodland of the beautiful Birtley Estate which stretches to 48 acres. There is plenty to explore, including walks around the grounds, lunch by the lake and at some point during the day we will toast marshmallows around our campfires. If the weather on the day isn’t the best, don’t worry as we have plenty of shelter.
The day starts at 10am – 4pm and we will allow for a 1 hour lunch break. We will provide tea’s, coffees and cold drinks throughout the day and there are toilets onsite. We just ask that you bring your own lunch to enjoy and keep you going.
All T&C’s are listed on our bookings page.
Just 5 miles outside Guildford town centre in Bramley, in the Woodland that sits within the Birtley Estate. Sat nav location: GU5 0LB.
Note: Please use the main Birtley House entrance entering via the main gate and parking in the left hand car park overlooking the lake. Please DO NOT head to the main house to ask for directions, the arts space is sign-posted and can be easily located beyond the lake and into the woods where Lorraine and Ruth will be waiting. Sadly, at this time our other gardens are restricted and cannot be explored. The Birtley Estate is primarily home to our long standing Care Home, and we ask that any visitors of the Woodland only use the front garden which is home to our main lake, just in case our Residents wish to use the gardens themselves.
In these uncertain times, it is so good to see so many communities coming together to find ways to support their neighbours, friends, families, local businesses, carers and the NHS. Local online communities for some have been invaluable, whether used to organise support or collect donations for those in need, to share local news, to obtain advise or provide recommendations to others, or to just bring a smile to peoples faces!
We have had to adapt this Spring to a new norm, as have so many other businesses and this has included creating an online shop and pop up Garden Shop to display and sell our crafts! We would like to say a big thank you to our friends, family, customers and local online communities for their continued and much appreciated support in these new endeavours, it wouldn’t be possible to remain in business without you!
As with other event organisers we have not been able to run our workshops and training courses as we had hoped and won’t be able to do so until early July at the earliest. This is a shame as we had so many exciting new events to bring you this year, however, we recognise that the most important thing is to ensure we re-launch all events once again when it is first safe and sensible to do so.
In the spirit of community, we would like to ask you our friends and customers to help support our business even further by requesting a favour, we will, of course, be pleased to offer you something in return, ”quid pro quo”.
I won’t beat about the bush, we would be extremely grateful if you have been satisfied with our products or services we have delivered to provide us with a recommendation!
This action will really help people make purchasing decisions and also help us to bounce back when lockdown restrictions have been lifted. We have found recommendations including those provided on social media and by word of mouth to be the best way to share good experiences with others and to help promote our business to new friends (customers we haven’t met yet).
The competition will run from 22nd May until 31st May.
The live draw will take place on Monday 1st June 2020 at 2 p.m. This will be promoted live on Instagram. We will contact the lucky winners directly after the draw via telephone and/or email.
CLICK HERE to make contact and enter our free prize draw.
I mentioned earlier that we have had to adapt and find a new norm, we are pleased to say we have been able to do this by bringing our products and services to you by introducing two types of shops:
We have opened a Garden Shop displaying our natural, homemade Willow Crafts and Botanicals including our Obelisk and Harlequin Trees. Our little cottage is situated on a bridal and cycle path so we have had many people passing by our front garden in the past few months, especially with the lovely weather we have been having!
We would normally be exhibiting our business at various agricultural and country fairs across Surrey and Sussex this time of year and given these have all been cancelled was worried we would lose the face-to-face connection with our friends and customers that we value. The Garden Shop seemed like the next best thing but now we consider it to be a unique part of our business going forward as it has brought us so much closer to those in our local and nearby neighbourhoods, so much so we are on first name terms with many of our visitors and are already seeing lots of people returning on a regular basis.
Rustic Obelisk and other plant support workshops had proven to be a favourite choice of our customers last year, therefore, it made sense to take orders and make these myself this year. I already had Willow in storage from the coppicing I had undertaken earlier in the year, some of this with the help of volunteers, so all I had to do was start weaving! I began by displaying Obelisk and Harlequin Trees (a decorative tree woven in the harlequin pattern from living Willow) of various sizes in my new Garden Shop and when I realised how popular they would be I quickly set about creating an online shop on my website. I had to upskill quickly to master the use of Woo-Commerce but I’m always up for a challenge when technology is involved!
To date, we have a small selection of products on sale plus gift vouchers, however, we will continue to add more over time. Again, this is an adaption that we plan to keep. Paul and I had previously made a range of rustic products to order so it made sense to take this step and set up an e-commerce shop offering free local delivery.
The next step in our aim to adapt is to introduce a selection of online courses to support our existing training courses and workshops. For example, those who have participated in our Wattle Hurdle Workshops know that the steps are quite complicated and difficult to remember and it is only through practise that you can eventually become an expert! Therefore, an online tutorial available to view after the course has ended will help as a reference tool for those who wish to continue to practise and improve their newfound skill.
I am also planning on creating a small number of tutorials to accompany the sale of our Gift Packs, the first of which we launched last week for those who would like to make a Willow Dream Catcher!
All customers who had bookings with us to commence earlier than July have now been contacted, we have been working hard to ensure these workshops and events can be rescheduled where possible.
Moving forward to July and beyond we have a growing list of workshop experiences and training courses available in our Experience Box Office to be held at our various locations. We have ensured that in addition to buying tickets to reserve your place in advance, each workshop also provides you with the choice to join a Waitlist to express your interest in the event rather than pay upfront in these uncertain times. We will make contact nearer the time to inform you if the event is still going ahead and if you wish to make a booking.
We offer a selection of Wood Art, Willow Craft and Bushcraft workshops at various picturesque locations across Surrey Hills and Sussex. We will continue to add further dates and events so do bookmark the following page for future reference:
The desire to conserve and enhance our heritage hedgerows, undertake new (old) skills and spend time in the outdoors has been on the increase and I expect this will continue, especially given the current climate. It may be some time away but we would like to welcome you to join our Coppicing and Hedgelaying Training Course this coming Winter and enjoy an experience that will stay with you for life!
We will have more updates for you in the coming weeks including news of a very special event we will be hosting at the Birtley Woodland Art Space, hopefully in July!
Wishing you all well, stay safe.
Lorraine & Paul
We have a selection of Willow kits and online tutorials available in our Shop! Dismiss