Birch Forest Schools had been asked to take part in the Slaithwaite Christmas lights switch on by running an activity stall in the Community Centre. Throughout the afternoon children and families came along and made Christmas decorations out of natural materials. On offer were mini reindeer, willow stars and wands, Santa sticks and wood cookie decorations.
We were kept busy all afternoon but by far the most pleasant aspect was meeting up with people we knew from our work in the area over the past few years.
We were packed up just in time to see the lights in the village being switched on and the fire work display afterwards. With the Klonk Ceilidh in the evening courtesy of MASTT, it felt as though the festive season had truly begun, not with stress and gross expenditure but with people coming together in celebration.
At ths Ceilidh, Tom Taylor, fiddle player in Klonk and attendee of the first Spoon carving workshop in the woods, came over to our table with two finished spoons. One started on the workshop and the other carved under his own steam at home. Both had a wonderful finish and were well shaped (my image does not do justice to either I am afraid)
Saturday saw the first Kielder Spoonday event. Inspired by Spoonfest run at Edale in August, the Kielder Spoonday aimed to give people a chance to dip into the world of spoon carving. Usually I work outdoors but for Kielder Spoonday was offered the chance to work in the castle art gallery. As the weather was quite… Kieldeish, I was quite glad to be under cover.
There were two workshops in the morning, repeated in the afternoon. Deni Riach ran a spatula making workshop, eschewing pre prepared but very hard beech blanks and opting to split down birch. In the end the participants benefitted from learning how to split logs to prepare boards then use axe and shave horse to rough out. Finishing with craft knives, I saw some very smooth spatulas being proudly displayed, from log to kitchen in only two hours!
Despite preparing birch spoon blanks for the participants to allow them to progress their carving, I was very surprised at the progress made in only two hours , this minus all my blathering time.
Outside (in quite a lot of rain!) there was a fire circle with seating, a “try out” area for whittling and a children’s entertainer, occupying the offspring of avid carvers by teaching them circus skills among other things.
There were some lovely comments from participants:
” I thought I would enjoy it but not as much as I did”