Roll Up! Roll Up! Come and See Our Willowy Wonders!
It took two weeks of prep; cutting, sorting, loading willow, measuring, sawing, constructing, thatching, tweaking, weaving, ramming, hanging, perfecting.
It wasn't until 6:30pm, in the damp drizzle which had decided to descend on the whole site on the busiest of set up days for this wonderful show, Countryfile Live, that we stood back and breathed a sigh of satisfaction as we looked at our stand which stood complete; all fences, gates, dens, and log stores were in place, and the curvy willow fence we had woven around the Explore Britain stage was done and ready to welcome the hordes of people arriving tomorrow. We had a fire on at home and a fridge full of beer to go and enjoy, before four days of solid demonstrating, smiling and chatting begun.
It was Countryfile Live's second year at Blenheim Palace and we were excited to be involved once again, with many new products and inspirations to display. Countryfile Live is our most 'local' show, being right on our doorstep. It's also the biggest - going on for four whole days- and a great opportunity for us to really get creative with our display and weave some interesting constructions. It's always the greatest of pleasures to show the general public what can be done with willow and showcasing its flexibility and suitability for most situations.
This year we stepped up our offering to Countryfile and wove a feature stage for the "Explore Britain" area. The aim was to draw people into the seating area and have the fence almost hug the crowd and encase the circular stage. We were very excited as the stage was right near the magnificent Bladon Bridge on the Blenheim estate, with the most beautiful back drop of the lake ... Picture perfect!
We were very lucky with the weather. The sun was shining all day when we wove this curvy little number, making it a glorious experience - unlike the following days which dribbled rain throughout, making setting up for the other exhibitors and the organsisers very tough.
The week prior to Countryfile Live was a very busy one. We made a couple of special new additions to our display: a children's teepee and a thatched willow pod. We were very excited to get these made and put on our stand - it was nice to have something new and exciting to offer for the children to play in and explore and we the idea was that they would get everyone's imaginations going. We already exhibit a children's wendy house which is very popular, but we wanted to branch out our offering and show what is possible.
A decking base, three woven willow sides, skinned ash poles, slightly raised off the ground. All our dens and other bespoke creations are made to order. The size and materials can be specified and we can work to a budget. If you are curious and have an idea of your own or just want to know how much one of these dens is please get in touch and we will send you a free quote.
The Thatched Story Pod!
We have wanted to make a smaller version of the thatched willow pod we wove a few years back for two very happy little girls in Cambridgeshire for a while now. We wanted to create one which was smaller and cosier, with room for an adult and a child to cuddle up inside and read a story or two together. The pod is rather more time consuming and challenging to make than the teepee and the wendy house, requiring gentle persuasion and patience while the uprights are curved into the pod's egg like shape. Once the thatch is added the pod takes on a whole new feel; a perfect hideaway, with just enough dappled light coming through the weave at the base. Personally, it is my favourite of the dens we offer - it's just so nice to curl up inside it; the door is low enough to almost hide the fact you are in there, and the thatch softens the sound from outside almost creating its own acoustics inside - a very calming and sheltered environment.
I must admit that I snuck into the pod during one quieter lunch time at the show for a couple of minutes. The rain was drizzling outside and the hustle and bustle was still around, but the pod created its own little sanctuary. I could have stayed in there all day!
Our woven dens and playhouses went down a real treat - especially when the heavens decided to open (this happened on numerous occasions...!) because they offered friendly shelter for passers-by.
We had such a brilliant time again at Countryfile Live. It was a joy to see so many children run onto the stand and clamber into the dens and have so many people enquire about what we do. Countryfile Live delivers a very unique, busy, jam packed, interactive and memorable show for families, couples, singles and fans! We are so proud to be a part of it and demonstrate on such a beautiful estate. We already can't wait for next year - though we do hope the sun comes out for a little longer!