As the seasons shift from summer into autumn, I find myself looking forward to moving into the next season. Cooler days, longer nights and the sun lower in the sky – I love it. This is the time of year when I often book myself in for a conference or some learning experience.
Other years I have learned about fermentation and herbal medicine making, this year I headed to Windrush Farm to learn about silver jewellery making. Based in Newtownmountkennedy in county Wicklow, Windrush is a family farm. They use regenerative farming methods and have a real love for their animals and the habitats they cultivate and support. They take their role as custodians of the land very seriously.
I was greeted by Sophie and her mum Lucy and as the rest of our group arrived, we helped ourselves to hot drinks and cake while we introduced ourselves. Then outside we went, swishing through the wet grass and reeds, climbing over fallen tree-limbs and ducking under low hanging branches.
The setting of this farm is really beautiful: arable land side by side with wild bog and wetlands. There were animal tracks everywhere (a testament to their healthy population of deer and rabbits!) and we were encouraged to really open our eyes to our surroundings. Our mission was to find pretty bits of leaves or other natural odds and ends that we might use to make an impression for our piece of silver jewellery.
We all gathered lots of bits and then when we returned into the studio, we had a wonderful time getting creative and being guided through the process by Sophie and Lucy. It was a completely new process to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I tend to exert my creative energies in the kitchen, despite having a never-ending supply of artistic materials. A day out to indulge in silversmithing really felt wonderful.
By the end of the afternoon, I had created a beautiful and unique pendant using a piece of yarrow frond. I was so proud of what I had made and the process was really fascinating to me. Even more though, I had loved making new friends and being utterly submerged in nature. We saw all manner of birds including water fowl, rabbits and even an impressive stag.
In fact, I was so excited by the whole experience that I am already planning my return trip! The silver jewellery making is just one of the experiences that Sophie and her team offer: there is a whole range of others, like ‘Felting with the Flock’ and ‘Making Art from Nature’.
I have heard from a fairly reliable source that Windrush will be running willow wreath workshops closer to Christmas and I can’t wait for that. As soon as I can, I’ll be booking my place! Sounds to me like that will be a great way to get into the swing of the festive season!
If you'd like further details about Windrush Farm, please check out the following links: