A few months ago I wrote about the mindful nature of carving; how the focused cuts or swing of an axe actually allowed for a wonderful sort of peace, not dissimilar to meditation. The opening to this is in essence a follow up to this and a development of my thoughts after a wonderful weekend running workshops at a festival in Pembrokeshire called The Big Retreat. The response I received for the workshops and what I do across the weekend was nothing short of overwhelming; people were excited about this craft and in a few cases seemed to have genuinely connected with something deeper in trying it out. Of course I understand this connection, or at least have my own that goes beyond making something so I began thinking about what may be behind this discovery for people. The answer I can to, or at least one potential one, was purpose.
When I first thought about putting together a blog I always wanted it to feature imperfection, the mistakes, the journey. It’s through these things that we learn, adjust and tweak until we finally have something just the way we like it. I wanted to be able show things in a way that wasn’t daunting, that encouraged and celebrated the experiments. There are of course many of these that don’t get recorded of course but here, to begin in celebration of imperfection….the imperfect stew.
My first glimpse of Jenna’s work was at the all together wonderful Simple Knots Craft Club (something I’ll be hollering about more in a couple of weeks), a gathering of makers and creators that gets together once a month in Cardiff. Jenna had the dubious honor of sharing the patch of table next to me and along with being altogether welcoming was working on a drawing of a character from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononuke, all sublimely crisp line work and the perfect capture of this character both wise and a little creepy. Those bold, clean lines can be found through much of Jenna’s work and the manner in which it propels her characters from the page is what really draws me to her illustrations.
Glorious geometric jewellery, tattoo styled illustrations and knives that make chopping veg a thing of beauty. Wednesday saw another stunning collection of makers on the #HandmadeHour twitter get together, take a look at some of the makers that caught my eye from the evening.
I'm pretty excited that 2017 will see SingleMaltTeapot appearing at a selection of festivals, running workshops in spoon carving and hopefully introducing a folk to this craft I so adore. In May we'll be at The Big Retreat Wales enjoying amore mindful escape which got me thinking about some of the aspects of my work that attend to the soul as well as that creative itch.
We are starting to look towards next years festival season at Teapot Tower, getting a feel for where SingleMaltTeapot might be a good fit and where my spoons and courses might find a little spot of their own over a (fingers crossed) warm summer weekend. I put a lot of importance in how a festival feels and the sort of atmosphere that it creates so it seemed like a good time to natter about my time behind a lens at one that really got it right, The Goodlife Experience in Hawarden.
Homemade stock is something that crops up a lot when I talk about what I’d like people to be able to take from the blog, one of those things that can easily feel like the sort of thing a certain kind of person does, that there is a secret art to it. Really though, pop a chicken in some water and simmer for an afternoon and you’ll have stock. A couple of super simple extras elevates it to the sort of miracle cure status of folk lore but the amount of satisfaction that comes from such simplicity makes it perfect for when I need to connect back to day to day living. It also tastes amazing, is so darn healthy and with the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping it becomes a weekly staple starter for the stews and soups of the season.
I've always loved when genres cross over and mix, be it in music, art, or design; it is something I channel in my own work and always catches my eye when I see makers combining two elements often thought quite separate. We Are Stardust brings together beautiful illustration and heart warming messages paired with elements of scientific journals and straight up science facts. It not only delivers a unique, touching take on making someone smile but highlights the wonders of the world in which we wander and how connected to that our emotions can be.
It feels like an age since I last updated you on the exploits here at Teapot Towers. Our next kitchen funs will be the first steps with sourdough bread and as soon as I make peace with my attempts (vague though they are) at healthier eating I want to pop down on this digital paper the next step in jazzing up the base cake I posted a while back. Something which might help me with that though is out latest addition, a little allotment space that is in need of a lot of digging.
Teapot Tower is full of the smell of sourdough starter and proving loaves as Sam begins testing a multitude of recipes, tweaking and adjusting to find the right fit for the little colony of yeast growing away in a kilner jar in the kitchen. Those experiments will be appearing here soon too and I'm super excited to have Sam's voice added to the blog along with it, bringing another take on hybrid living to these pages.
For now here's a little round up from Wednesday's #HandmadeHour with my favourite finds from the weekly twitter event, which take place every Wednesday evening from 7:30-9:30pm GMT. This wonderful way to holler about and find some amazing new makers is run by @HandmadeHour and @HMNation