Hens get creative

My first ever Hen Party ... and I've been married twice!

Thirteen family and friends of the bride-to-be arrived at Combewater Studios on a brilliantly sunny Saturday in April to enjoy friendship, food and plenty of craft.

With so much time and planning put into the event it was such a relief that it wasn't raining and the sun was out so we could make cyanoprints - I hadn't factored the weather when I offered six craft activities last January!

We began by walking up the lane to collect hedgerow plants to use in eco-printing silk scarves. Spring is a great time to be doing this as the sap is rising and there are plentiful leaves unfurling where we live in Devon.

eco printing silk scarves hen partyeco printing silk hen partyeco printing silk scarves hen party

After the silk scarves were bundled and put in the simmering dye pans of bramble and nettles for an hour, groups were divided up to make beaded hair clips, or sew a leather coin purse using leather waste off-cuts.

beaded hair clips hen party

Robin had small teams throughout the day in the jewellery workshop helping them stamp and solder their own sterling silver ring; apparently the hardest thing for many was to decide what word they were going to decorate it with!

silver stamped rings hen partysilver stamped ringmaking hen partyRobin Shelton ringmaking hen party

We also used the ancient photography technique of blue cyanoprinting to create covers for hand-sewn notebooks. If there was a quiet moment in all this flurry of activities they could sidle off for refreshments and to also concoct their own personally blended essential oil from a long list of recipes. 

cyanotype hen party sewn notebooksEssential oil blending hen party

Amongst all of this creativity was a light lunch consisting of two varieties of homemade soup using homegrown ingredients, salad and a lot of cake, including chocolate pumpkin muffins which didn't last long! 

It was such a joy to have this lovely group of friends and family in our studios, some of whom had travelled a considerable distance, to spend a creative day together, relaxing in the garden, sharing conversations, food and laughter.

As our gift to the bride, throughout the day I invited the hens to contribute to a Memory Book. We all added plants and flowers to a special bundle of silk which I unwrapped a few days later when it was dry. This was used to cover a large square scrapbook which the hens had written in, given some of their cyanotypes, and 'Instax' instant photos stuck on pages. I delivered it back to the bridesmaid who had organised the hen party a few days after so that it could be taken to the wedding celebrations so that others add to it as a record of a very special wedding with family and friends.

Memory book hen partyeco silk printing hen party

Along with the takeaways from the six craft activities everyone was offered a packet of pumpkin seeds which I'd removed from the Hungarian Blue pumpkin we grew last summer and used for the soup and muffins.

Just sharing the love ...


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