Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Residential Workshop - France

In June Debbie Abrahams and I were lucky to be invited to France once again to run a week long residential knitting workshop in association with Rowan Yarns and internet stockist Kangaroo.
We had 20 participants from all over the world who stayed in self contained gites within the enclosed walls of Le Vieux Monastere which is situated in the Charente Maritime region of south west France. All students had their own bedroom and shared access to bathrooms, kitchen and communal living room.
The site is an ideal setting for this kind of a holiday. The monastery is surrounded by beautiful country side and is situated next to an ancient church. At this time of year there are plenty of wild flowers and wildlife. The nearest village is approx two miles away.

Almost all catering was included in the price of the holiday and was of an exceptional standard. There was a continental breakfast, a light lunch and large meal nightly with plenty of wine and lively chat.

Debbie and I decided to offer a design based holiday where participants were encouraged to produce design ideas inspired by their surroundings.
After a day long workshop in basic knitwear design students spent their second day on a study visit which included a trip to a modern botanical garden and a nearby Cathedral.
On day three we had another whole day workshop to work on design ideas collected the previous day. Students were asked to design and plot out intarsia/ fairisle designs and come up with their own design ideas to complete over the following two half day workshops which were based on colour work and beading techniques. We used the final half day workshop to put the finishing touches to everyone’s design and to discuss the outcome of all the hard work!
The creativity and sheer volume of work was quite over whelming with many students surprising themselves with what they had produced.

We ran evening activities alongside the day workshops. Many students were inspired by Debbie’s wonderful slide show of her own work and inspiration which took place on the first evening. On remaining evenings we ran a crochet and finishing techniques workshop.
On the Friday evening we held a presentation evening where everyone received a certificate and some were lucky enough to be nominated by their class mates for a prize. It was all quite emotional with many participants vowing to come back next year.

Kate Buchanon, a journalist wrote a daily blog which you can look @ on the ‘Simply Knitting’ web site.

If you would like information about next year’s workshop then contact Sue Culligan @ Kangaroo.