As those of you who follow me on instagram may know, I attended a wonderful wreath making workshop at the weekend, hosted by the lovely Emma and Gina of 'The Cosy Shed'. I saw a while ago that they had released workshop dates, but as they are based in Norwich, I thought there was no way I would ever be able to attend (as I absolutely hate driving, and I won't even drive to Nottingham, a mere 30 minutes away). However, my lovely boyfriend Jai offered to take me there and back, and I very graciously, and quickly, accepted. After a long 3 and a half hour drive, we finally arrived at the big black gates, and drove through the park to Hayman Lodge, where the workshop would take place.
We were surrounded by a beautiful park filled with trees painted in all the colours of the autumnal rainbow which was the perfect setting for such a workshop. I got out of the car and left Jai to find the nearest Costa for the next few hours (don't worry I know he's a keeper), and walked through a little wooden gate and down a path leading to where the magic would begin. I was instantly greeted by Gina, the mother of the mother-daughter duo, who wrapped me in the biggest hug, and I knew we were going to get along perfectly. Some of the other attendees had also arrived, and whilst we waited for the last few, we all stood round getting to know each other with our hot teacups of speciality teas and hot chocolates. Emma, the daughter of the mother-daughter duo, soon arrived from the back room and greeted me with a big hug, and the same warmth as her lovely mother.
Once everyone had introduced themselves, it was hard to keep your eyes away from the beautiful array of dried flowers and foliage. There were so many baskets of dried hydrangeas I could have squealed. So many different colours, and textures and when you brushed your fingers across the petals you heard that beautiful dried rustle that anyone who has tried to dry hydrangeas before has hoped and prayed for. There were also two huge galvanised tubs of fresh eucalyptus which filled the air, and an assortment of jugs displaying various dried seed heads, bracken and gypsophila. There were also little bowls dotted along the table that had the most beautifully dried roses which were also available to use.
As I am a dessert girl at heart, it didn't take me long to spot my place and the tray of vegan goodies that came along with it. As the only vegan on the workshop, Gina and Emma had kindly sourced so many treats for me to enjoy during the course of the workshop that I was truly spoilt for choice. Once the other attendees had arrived, we all took our seats, which were decorated with a gorgeous handmade cushion, and we awaited our first instructions.
Firstly, Gina explained what all the plant items were, and then gave us a brilliant demonstration on how the shape of the wreaths would be constructed. We had two options to choose from, and were free to create whatever sized wreath we desired. It was so interesting to see Gina work, and watch how effortlessly she was able to weave the vines of the Virginia creeper together. Once the base of our wreaths were constructed, we then got to choose the layout and colour schemes of our individual pieces. I had no preconceived idea of what I wanted to make, it was only when I spotted the beautiful little hydrangea head in the palest blue, that I knew I needed to construct the whole wreath around this one piece, and so the magic began.
I've always been inspired by nature, which is shown through most of the work I create, so this workshop was truly the perfect way to spend a Saturday for myself. I continued to build on my wreath, carefully adding more and more pieces of foliage and pinecones, always checking back to make sure the balance and composition was just right. Slowly, but surely, my beautiful wreath began to emerge. What was also so lovely, was to see everyone else's wreaths grow with each added stem. It's interesting to see how a group of people can be given the same pieces to work with, but their imagination takes each one down a completely different road. It's one of the things that I love about creative minds.
After much cake eating, and tea sipping, our wreaths were finally starting to look somewhat finished. We were all bonding and sharing stories of our respective businesses, and passions, and it was lovely to get to know one another. It's wonderful when apps like instagram can bring so many like-minded people into one place. Once we were happy with our wreaths, we then got to pick a bundle of naturally dyed ribbon from a basket at the top table. Now, as someone who absolutely loves naturally dyed fabrics, I was very close to stealing the entire thing. The pale hues of nature were so beautiful, and the textured fraying of the fabrics just begged for you to touch them. This is where my big dilemma hit. Which one was I possibly going to choose?! I wanted to go with pink, but it was a more neutral parchment colour that I finally decided on, which complimented the natural tones of my wreath perfectly.
After lots of photos, more nattering, and of course more cake eating, it was nearing our time to leave. We checked out each others instagram accounts to make sure we could stay in touch, and finally said our goodbyes. Not before Gina could gift me with the leftover vegan treats though!!! (Best friends forever, Gina!)
Emma and Gina, I just want to say a huge thank you to you both for running such a wonderful workshop. I'm so pleased I was able to attend, and I could not be more happier with my finished wreath. It's taken pride of place in my studio, and every time I look at it I think about what a wonderful time I had on Saturday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can attend another workshop next year! (Come to Mansfield, please!)
Lots of love,
To follow The Cosy Shed on instagram: @thecosyshed
To follow myself on instagram: @edieroseashley