Finding Mindfulness Through Purpose

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.

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An Imperfect Stew

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.

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Maker Feature - Jenna Clark

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. 

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My Kind of Festival - The Goodlife Experience

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.

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Stew Season Staples - Homemade Stock

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.

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Maker Feature - We Are Stardust

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.

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Allotment Adventures - First Steps, Just Keep Digging

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.

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HandmadeHour Roundup - July 27th

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

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HandmadeHour Round Up - June 29th

From dinosaurs that grow into plants to gorgeous ceramics through origami flowers, handmade hour as ever was a flood of talent and loveliness. It's time then to take a bit of a gander at some of the crafty awesome to catch my eye from last nights #handmadehour.

I'm setting up for a little challenge next weeks during #handmadehour as part of their new initiative to #makeitlive. I'll be streaming over on Facebook a live handmadehour spoon carve, seeing if I can go from blank to spoon in 2 hours. Handmadehour is run by @HMNation from 7:30-9:30pm GMT every Wednesday and 8-9pm GMT every Sunday and is a wonderful chance to see some amazingly talented makers and their creations. 

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A Cake To Build Upon - Pt.1

Something I'm trying to do more is edge away from pulling out a recipe book each time I fancy baking and flicking through to something new. The variety is of course lovely but should I ever be without the stack of books in the kitchen would leave me at a loss for what to do. My solution has been to repeatedly do something simple, gradually learning the recipe as I do. Then I'll start playing with things, swapping bits out to see what happens to the flavour or consistency to create something new. This simple, zested loaf cake is our starting point. 

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HandmadeHour Round Up

When I chat to folk about my hope for SingleMaltTeapot, one thing that I always find super exciting is the idea of getting to shout about other makers and crafters. Twitter has some fantastic groups running live tweet events on a weekly basis and it's a great chance to see lots of talented folk and what they are up to. Wednesday evening see's HandmadeHour from HandmadeNation take to the twitterverse and I'm looking forward to sharing my favourites each week with y'all.

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Choosing Wood - LondonGreenWood

The idea that the lovely folk at LondonGreenWood altered the landscape of my day to day might sound a little exaggerated but really, that is rather the case. It was the starting point for so much that will follow in the blog before which I had never picked up and axe or I'd never sized up a length of wood for the things it held; I'd never eaten my breakfast with something I had made, something that I had taken from a log to a little spoon whose warmth and feel remind me of the wonders in the hand made.

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Beginning With Bacon - Curing Your Own Breakfast

Deciding where to begin with the blog took a little bit of thought. What did I want to introduce first? A message? A mentality? Some cake? Well, all those things but I have settled with bacon....cake was a close second mind. Why the prince of the pancake court? Well, because making it is like eating it, comforting but simple, comforting because it is simple, because it typifies what I hope this blog will be and because sometimes, making bacon can feel like it's about more than meat, salt and sugar.

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Making New Friends

The immediate landscape around the cottage consists of three hills (hill certainly doesn't do one of them justice) and Llangorse lake to north. Path's intertwine through them and we are gradually exploring the walks we can make from our doorstep. To the south is Buckland Hill, a comfortable climb and home to this lovely lot.

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On Baby Sheeps

I've returned to the hills to find lambs accompanying just about every mama in the fields. Walks takes that little bit longer now, I can't help but stop to lean on gates and watch them scampering around, overly long tails wagging like crazy as they run to mum.

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