4 December 2011

Willow Bending

Yesterday a crowd of us went to Mary Newman's Cottage in Saltash ( http://www.museumsincornwall.org.uk/museums/mary-newmans-cottage).   This is where Sir Walter Raleigh's wife lived - where he was I don't know, perhaps off exploring or spending time at the Court of Queen Elizabeth and putting his cloak down on the damp ground to avoid the Sovereign's dainty feet from getting wet.  
The house gives an excellent insight into the way the majority of Elizabethans lived, well the comparatively prosperous ones, I should imagine.  This cottage is looked after by the Tamar Protection Society (http://www.tamarprotectionsociety.org.uk/) and  is a beautiful, compact house with an entrancing cottage garden out at the back, complete with Grade II listed privvy.
Why were we there? Well, firstly to look around the property and secondly to try our hands at learning to make willow Christmas decorations.   
Apparently willow has been used for hundreds of years to make decorations and useful pieces, presumably because of its ready availability and cheapness.  We had great fun out in the back garden encouraging the willow to bend (and trying not to be too hasty and break it!).  After about an hour or work, here is my finished result.  It isn't a great photo as it's difficult to see the willow itself but I did make another one which has yet to be decorated:

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