13th
Sep

Rush Workshop Testimonials - September 2016

Bags, Baskets, Cushions, Hats, Plaiting, Sewing, Tablemats

"Hi Felicity, absolutely brilliant, another great weekend, just not long enough, absolute heaven, to be able to immerse myself in something without any interruptions, sheer bliss. Not only did I feel as though I made some progress with the weaving, it enforced my determination to continue at home, already got it organised in barn. But it was also great therapy, with inspiring surroundings and an opportunity to meet an interesting group of people, I left feeling so uplifted and calm... Thanks Felicity for making all this possible. As I said, if only I lived closer I would offer my services for mundane general duties, or even a week internship! Thanks again, now considering November date. Very best wishes, Suzanne." - From Norfolk

"Hello Felicity, a slightly belated thank-you for a wonderful workshop last weekend - once again I'm amazed at your patience and the generosity with which you share your expertise (I'm sure a sense of humour helps too!). Nice people, great food, lovely rushes - what more could anyone ask for? - oh, and a delightful little dog too!

Attached are photos of my finished tray/basket, with which I'm very pleased (one of them includes my cat Smudge having a good sniff at this unfamiliar object).  I was particularly encouraged when I compared my table mat from this workshop with those I'd made on previous occasions - it was definitely much neater and with a more consistent tension.  So I feel I am improving!

Thanks again, and all good wishes, Clare" - From Bristol (Returning students)

rush tray workshop

smudge with rush tray

september workshop 2016

september workshop 2016

september workshop 2016

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1st
Sep

Rush Harvest 2016

Harvesting

I realise it is a little late to talk about our rush harvest, however, it is an extremely busy time of year for us so difficult to put pen to paper.

We started just up stream of The Pike and Eel at Needingworth and gradually worked our way upstream past The Ferryboat Inn at Holywell and finished just short of the St. Ives lock. The rush was plentiful so we didn't have to move to another area. It is one of the most beautiful stretches of river. Big, big horizons, blue skies and naughty cattle!

river

harvest cows

He was our favourite - very cheeky chap.

harvest cows

I took over the rush cutting from Tom Arnold in 1994. He lived a few steps away from the river. It felt like coming home to cut there again- romantic I know, but.....

I had a new punt made this year- very exciting. Officially her name is Bella 4, her nick name- Cliff. Four punts, four cutters. Ivor, Davey, new recruit Jim, me and Molly, of course.

molly on punt

the wild bunch

"THE WILD BUNCH' Photo by Alan Clarke, a photographer with us for 2 days for a forthcoming article in Hole & Corner magazine.

 

Jim turned out to be a real star and took really well to the cutting. It isn't easy. We each have our own techniques and it is extremely hard work. Bed time gets earlier and earlier the further we get into harvest..

bolts on punts

ivor cutting rush

rush hedge

 

A few hiccups with the outboard motors at the beginning but then everything ran smoothly. The rush is beautiful to work with. It dried quickly so has remained pretty green, a quality we love. Also amazingly long! Up to 14' some of it.

It was a great year for us. Wonderful weather for cutting and drying. Our total was 2200 bolts - a fantastic year.

 

My cathedral to rush..

full barn

rush barn

molly in barn

 

A fellow river user sent us a link to his diary of the trip they made this summer. Very lovely of him and a great trip. See it here.

Dear Rushmatters

It was good to see you out on the Ouse recently,

Simon Judge, Narrow Boat Scholar Gypsy.

Simon Judge Photo

To see more photos of the rush harvest, check out our instagram page - rushmatters

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1st
Sep

Speyside Cooperage

Harvesting

Yesterday, the lorry came down from Scotland to collect the 800 bolts that Speyside Cooperage order every year. A rush is split open and a half is placed between the staves and heads of the casks as caulking material acting as a gasket. 

coopers rush

speyside lorry

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