Hello, it’s Emily the long-term volunteer placement blogging again – I know its been a long time since my last blog, but don’t worry I’m still alive over here, I’ve just been working hard!
So, what’s this blog all about?
Well in my spare time I like to indulge my love for whittling (and yes I still have all ten fingers) and with the local craft event this weekend (Sunday 2nd April) I thought I should get you all into the spirit of things by giving you a step by step ‘how to guide’ for making gypsy flowers. Don’t worry though, its not as extravagant as the ‘proper’ gypsy flowers, but I quite like this version and it’s a great one to do with the kids or grandkids over the coming Easter holidays.
So enough from me, lets get started!
First things first lets get the right materials, you will needs :- Rods of willow, no thicker then your thumb (any type of wood will do, but I find willow works a real treat). A sharp fixed blade knife (note that a fixed blade is by far the safest knife to use for whittling). A pair of secateurs and a hand drill.
Using the secateurs, cut a reasonable length of willow (note that roughly 5 / 6 inches should be a good working length, as one flower is about one inch in length). Carefully slice length ways down the rod, cutting thinly into the willow and stopping the cut roughly 10 cm before the end of the rod. Don’t be afraid to push the blade down hard as by its nature willow is a very forgiving material to work with, but of course be careful!
You then repeat slicing into the rod, rotating it slightly each time so that a petal formation starts to form. As you keep rotating the rod, gradually work your way towards the middle. On reaching the middle of the rod, you should have cut all the way through and your flower will become free. Your first flower is complete!
Once you have your finished flower you then want to turn it over so you can drill a hole into your flower base. The easiest way for you to do this is by carefully drilling through the soft core. Once the drill bit is lined up, slowly turn it by hand to drill through the core, being carful to not drill too far and destroy the petal formation.
Once you have created all the flowers you could possibly need, and you’ve drilled a hole into the base of every one you are then ready to make your bouquet! You will need thin sticks, ideally the same size as your drill bit. You simply need to insert the stick into the already prepared hole, replicating this procedure for all the flowers you have created.
The last step is to find some string or ribbon, and tie your bouquet together. You can then find a vase and place them artistically anywhere in the house for everyone to admire!
And there you have it, 4 easy steps on how to make perfect willow flowers every time.
If you would like to give this a go, or simply watch me for a better understanding, then join us this Sunday, 2nd April between 10.30am and 3pm for our local craft event. There will be hurdle and basket making demonstrations alongside volunteer Geoff Knott demonstrating wood turning on the lathe. Children (and adults!) can have a go at weaving a bird feeder from willow. This is also your last opportunity to enjoy our pop up café, which will be taking a break over the summer and will return again in November. Nigel and Christine will be here offering visitors the all important tea, coffee and cake, so do join us if you can!