Posted 5th Jan 2015
If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to learn a new hobby this year, find inspiration in our round-up of the top 10 country crafts and skills courses
The smell of freshly made bread emanating throughout the house can leave it feeling welcoming and homely, ideal for the winter months. However, using the correct ingredients and in what quantities can be the difference between a perfectly risen loaf or a flat disaster. Learning the tips and tricks of breadmaking from an expert could see you putting your bread maker to the back of the cupboard and is the ideal way to get the little ones involved in baking at home. Though a little messy at times, the kids will be engaged with the process and thrilled when they can eat their hard work.
Course: Artisan Breadmaking
Where: Hartingtons of Bakewell, Derbyshire
When: 29th January 2015
Taught by an expert bread maker and owner of an artisan bakery, the Artisan Breadmaking course gives you a hands-on experience, teaching you how to make three different types of dough. You will also learn different kneading and baking techniques so you can create your own loaves at home. For more details visit www.hartingtons.com.
Humble by Nature also offers sourdough bread courses with award-winning baker, Alex Gooch. You will learn how sourdough works and how to create your own at home. The next available course is Sunday 10th May 2015 and costs £115. Please visit the Humble by Nature website for more details www.humblebynature.com.
LandLove readers can receive a 10 per cent discount on the artisan breadmaking course provided by Hartington's of Bakewell by quoting 'LandLove1' upon booking either via telephone on 01629 888 586 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
An ancient technique, used for thousands of years to produce tools and equipment, wood carving was a necessity before modern machinery, however one of the oldest forms, whittling, is still practised today. This is where wood is manipulated using textured cuts to create everyday items, and from just a simple piece of wood can become a range of items, including wooden spoons and bowls to more elaborate and ornate pieces such as chairs and pianos. Specialist carvers who create these pieces have honed their skills over many years to produce ornate and beautifully designed pieces, however basic skills are not out of reach and this time next year you could be enjoying a good book in your own carved chair.
Course: Spoon Carving
Where: Crafty Camping, West Dorset
When: Any weekday as long as there are at least two participants (maximum of 4)
Available as a one or two-day course at £150 per day, Crafty Camping helps you to learn something different for a day in their woodland workshop. You will learn the basics of crafting a spoon using green wood and learn various carving techniques with high quality tools. Suitable for novices or those wanting to hone their skills. To find out about the course, as well as the other wood carving activities offered by Crafty Camping, including a five-day chair making class, visit www.mallinson.co.uk.
Head to our competitions page between 4th December and 28th February where one lucky LandLove reader can win a pair of tickets on the Spoon Carving course provided by Crafty Camping, each worth £150. Must be redeemed within 6 months of winning and is valid for the winner and one friend.
Woodland tree and plant identification
If you often spend your time enjoying the beauty of our woodlands and countryside, an identification course could enhance your experience, helping you to know the difference between a birch and an oak tree. With identification of trees, the leaves are key and often the distinction between the parts of a leaf is all you need to start off. Knowing the shape, physical structure and the silhouette of a leaf are the first steps to being able to identify what you are dealing with, not to mention the size and shape of the tree itself, as well as its location. These are all contributing factors to learning which tree is which. Taking the family on a day class could improve your walks through the countryside this year and for many more to come.
Course: Winter Tree ID
Where: The Wildlife Trust, Nottingham
When: 7th February 2015
The Winter Tree ID Course starts off in the classroom, showing you how to use twigs and buds to identify the UK’s native trees. You will then use your new-found knowledge by going out onto the reserve and identifying the trees of Nottingham. The class runs from 10am until 2pm. For more information contact Attenborough Nature Centre on 0115 972 1777 or visit www.wildlifetrusts.org.
A traditional skill dating back to the Iron Age, the art of the blacksmith, though once revered, has now taken a back seat to machinery. The skills of manipulating metal through heat however, are still alive throughout the country and many take great pride in producing their own tools and making their own pieces, forged by their own fair hand. Perfect if you are thinking of taking up a new hobby this year, or rekindling a lost one perhaps, blacksmithing could be a great way to start 2015.
Course: An Introduction to Blacksmithing
Where: Acton Scott, Shropshire
When: Saturdays and Sundays throughout April, July and August 2015
This one-day course covers fundamental metal forging techniques, aimed at beginners or those with very little knowledge of blacksmithing. The course will include step-by-step demonstrations and participants will be supervised and encouraged as they make a piece of ironwork to take home. For more details including what to wear and specific dates visit www.actonscott.com.
LandLove readers can get £15 off of the standard price of An Introduction to Blacksmithing provided by Acton Scott between 4th December and 28th February by quoting 'LandLove' when booking. Places can be booked by emailing email@example.com or calling on 01694 781307.
A combination of wool, heat, moisture and agitation creates, what is thought to be, the oldest method of making textiles, felting. Said to pre-date both knitting and weaving due to its simplicity, the technique which requires soap and very little time has always been a popular process used to create bags, hats and crafts, and some say it was the original material for socks. With an array of colours available, felt making is a great, mess-free activity to introduce to your kids and could fill a Sunday afternoon.
Course: Resist Feltmaking for Beginners
Where: Felt Meets Cloth, Hertfordshire
When: 26th January 2015
Cost: £30 plus a maximum of £10 for materials
In this felt making workshop you will learn about the ancient craft of creating felt using wool fibres. Starting at 10am, you will be introduced to wet felting and will create either a pair of wrist cuffs/warmers or a purse by the time you leave at 4.30pm. The workshop offers a fun and friendly atmosphere to learn about felting and to find out more visit www.feltmeetscloth.weebly.com.
LandLove readers can get 15% off the standard price of the date and class mentioned until the day before the class. Readers can also claim the discount off of the Nuno/Cobweb Felted Scarves for Beginners course on 28th February. To book and find out about the Nuno/Cobweb Felted Scarves for Beginners class contact Abigail on 07841654571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting 'LANDLOVE FELT'.
Read the rest of this feature on p.110 of the January/February 2015 issue...
By Lauren Morton
Images courtesy of Hartington’s of Bakewell, The Wildlife Trusts: Rob Pettifer