Saturday was a big day for me. I invited four friends to come and try out my studio as a space for workshops. I was really anxious in case it didn’t work. It is snug, and people have to cooperate about moving around, but it was doable.
I was trialling a workshop on Maying, or bringing in the May which is a tradition we have rather lost in the British Isles. There are some good books on the Maying traditions including the truly wonderful Arcadia Britainnica, which has great pictures of people dressing up for the May:
It has some really inspirational photographs of people dressed up for the various festivals, and I particularly like the shaggy costumes of many of the Jack in the Green characters
It all looks very pagan, but according to the Medieval Historian it isn’t. It might be Medieval, but is most likely Victorian. As usual, he loves to drain the romance out of just about anything.
Maying is really about celebrating the return of vegetation and greenery to the earth and so the festivities included bringing greenery into the home as a decoration and celebration. My original idea was to make paper chandeliers along the lines of Polish Pajaki:
I wanted to do this to try and connect with diverse Bristol which has a large Polish community. The only problem is that it is incredibly dull to do and takes forever. The Polish tradition was to make them in the long dark winter evenings and I can see how this would while them away. Plus, I had no end of trouble getting the strings to suspend the hoop evenly. So I think that I might change the workshop to making wreaths. My lovely, lovely guinea pigs, however, were up to the challenge of making chandeliers:
We had a great day and everything looks wonderful in the brilliant spring sunshine:
Plus we had a wonderful shared lunch.
Concentration levels were high:
And they gave me some wonderful feedback. Of course, not everyone took it totally seriously:
I am greatly encouraged by this and am encouraged to set up my first real expecting people to pay for it workshop. Watch this space.