Another lovely day on the island but not as warm. I spent half an hour in bed this morning catching up with friends on email and facebook. In particular I caught up with my old friends from the university where I used to work. It feels like a different life time now as my life is so very different. Most of my friends have also moved onto other things but I do have some very fond memories and these people remain the best of friends.
I wake earlier and earlier and I am not quite sure where that will end. Pete went off to work for 7am and I had my time with my huge mug of tea and my friends. My kitten then decided enough was enough and scratched and cried so I would get up and let her out. The joys of motherhood.
My focus today was outward looking as I have barely left Hazelbank since this good weather began. Pleased with how far ahead I am on the growing season I could afford the luxury of a visit to a friend. You have already met Assja but we rarely get time to catch up so I went to visit the shop where she works. Pooch Boutique is a lovely shop run by Nici Boni but she has two other girls to share the day to day running. I took lots of pictures but I am hanging onto my review for this blog until their one year anniversary later this month. As a business it is a fabulous example of what can be achieved when creative people get together. I can't help feeling that this adds weight to my argument that the craft workers on Arran need a focus; a place where we can come together. In this type of working environment creative collaborations are born and the outcomes are often truly memorable. We have had some attempts at this on the island in the past but none have really succeeded. The girls at Pooch Boutique have demonstrated how well collaborative working can operate. Here are a few pics to give you a taste of the shop but there will be much more in their review later in March.
Assja and I have known each other for years and we have worked together before. I wanted to talk to her about my ambition to offer creative courses at Hazelbank. She is probably one of the most creative people I know and I was keen to get her involved from the start. A few minutes into the conversation and we had at least three fabulous courses planned. It was just so easy. Assja is going to facilitate a workshop where the participants will design and make a piece of jewellery that reflects both who they are and where they are at that time. The piece of jewellery will act as a comma in their life's journey and, I am sure, be both a memorable process and product. Assja will weave her magic and I am quite sure the participants will feel empowered as a result of the course. We agreed to keep the numbers small so that she can support the participants as much as required. We see this course as a whole day and we will provide a home cooked meal at lunchtime.
We went on to discuss other courses to include bespoke workshops in bridal jewellery for example. Assja will then repeat her first course nearer Christmas but this time the participants will make a piece of jewellery for a special friend or family member. I love this idea and I so want to do this workshop.
Discussion moved onto my plans for my 'With Love from Arran' label that I hope to extend. I want to include selected work from Arran craft workers and, of course, Assja was top of my list. I am looking for work that truly reflects the island. It should take its inspiration from the island. Assja makes jewellery using sea glass and other beach fragments and this fits perfectly with my idea. So I will be featuring some of her pieces on both my web site shop and my facebook page. It is the first step on, what I believe will be, a very interesting journey. I have other craft workers in mind as well so the next few weeks will involve lots of coffees and, hopefully, lots of cake!
Having left Assja to her day I wondered along the seafront at Brodick and made the most of the late morning sunshine. With Goat Fell watching over the bay it really is the most glorious view from any point along that walk. I might have been wearing a coat but I couldn't help but notice how many people had ditched their coats and it is only the beginning of March. The sunshine makes people smile and there has been a lot of smiling on Arran in the past week or so.
I probably shouldn't drive a car. I am not very good at it and I tend to do some of my serious thinking when I am driving. Not a great combination. On my return journey I penciled in some more courses and some more potential facilitators to ask. I think the creative vibe on Hazelbank has just moved up a gear. Back home and I dug out all my florist materials in preparation for our launch course next Saturday. I am facilitating a flower school where all the participants will make an arrangement especially for Mother's Day. I am so excited to be back offering courses again and I promise to take lots of photos. To help promote my flower business and especially the workshops I am creating a statement piece for Coast cafe in the village. Mark and Russell who own the business are good friends and neighours so I will let you see how it turns out. I am taking my mother there for lunch on Mother's Day and will post all about the cafe after that. It is another of my favourite businesses on the island and you will so adore the boys!
So today has been much more gentle and I have just spent an hour with George watching the athletics on the telly. He loves to watch sport as do I and it a common interest that we both treasure. I have been doing some sneaky research on cupcake recipes and designs but George has an unnerving confidence about him. He just knows he is going to win that particular challenge. I have never believed in 'letting my children win'. I have never just let anyone win so this will be an interesting challenge. We can get very competitive in our family but we also know how to celebrate each other's successes. A pleasing balance me thinks.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring? See you then. xx
Leaving you with some more photos of the wonderful and inspiring Pooch Boutique.