The Big Picnic on June 2nd was a lovely event! A team of us led by Larch Maxey meet monthly at the Follaton Arboretum to create a forest garden for public use and enjoyment – as well as a community tree nursery and a plot growing various edibles. This is always a friendly event: all are welcome and we usually stay for a shared lunch. Our June meeting fell on the date of the nation-wide 'Big Lunch' event, so we invited others to share our picnic on the forest garden site, promoting this through TTT's Skillshares and the Network of Wellbeing.
We made new friends, connected with old ones, tasted each other's food, enjoyed the sun and the views: it was quite delightful!
Please contact Annie on email@example.com if you'd like to be informed of further activities there.
I love this aspect of the Skillshare project: connecting with all kinds of people – and often with other species too! – in a spirit of friendliness; this is done through the gift culture: curiosity and mutual appreciation are the main currencies exchanged.
Last week we had a skillshare session on dyeing fabric with eco-friendly dyes. Toyomi, the facilitator, is involved in a Transition initiative in Japan and was visiting her friend Shimako, who is an old friend of skillshares: she has led many wonderful sessions! Toyomi showed how easy the dyeing process is, and how creative it can be. The Bengala pigments, originally obtained from India, have been used traditionally in Japan for a very long time to preserve and enhance wood architecture. Two Japanese men have recently developed a version of this suitable for fabrics. We were all given a piece of fabric to experiment with it and felt quite inspired by the results! Toyomi and Shimako are very supportive of the idea of using our own Devon soils rich in iron oxide – the source of the colour. Budding entrepreneurs: there's a niche here!
I had such a fantastic time learning to play the mbira – a wonderful African instrument – at a skillshare which followed the Big Picnic that I forgot to use my camera, but once again loved the trans-cultural and multi-generational encounters. A 12 year-old boy was teaching a woman in her seventies how to play, as the Devon-based Zimbabwean teacher Chartwell Dutiro encourages such exchanges. Some very young children and elders, brown and white, all danced together… quite delightful! The pic shows another delightful multi-cultural skillshare: the Jubilation gospel session led by Fran Andre.
The Brunch Café in May was a great success - as this bi-monthly event always is! Promoted this time also as a skillshare, it allowed some people to try out new roles, whilst Holly was taking a back seat! It was run on this occasion by and for the Network of Wellbeing. Kudos to all!
Sewing with wonderful Anna has been a regular and very popular skillshare. All who have spent some time with her – including children and men – have appreciated her dedication, patience and contagious enthusiasm!
Foraging has also proven a very popular pursuit! In January, Larch had showed us that even in winter there are treasures to be found in the centre of Totnes - and he has run more instructive sessions since.
But spring is when the bounty abounds and we had a lovely kid-friendly - and dog-friendly - forage-and-cooking session with Trudy in Dartington.
Then Olya tried – and succeeded – to tell a large gathering (more than 60 of us, including children!) how we can connect with plants intimately to learn from them some deeper wisdom.
There are a number of fantastic foraging and herb skillshares coming up soon - with some highly experienced and talented facilitators - so do check the website!
Some beautiful and generous souls within the Landmatters cooperative hosted another wonderful recent skillshare. We were given a tour of this highly inspiring project and heard about key permaculture principles. One of them is "People Care" and Rooh Star, co-founder of Landmatters, is running a skillshare workshop on June 18th on The Way of Council, a method of deep communication used there. Highly recommended!
Outdoors again, we recently enjoyed being made welcome at School Farm, where we learnt about weeds - and about their CSA scheme (check out their Facebook page here!)
At the lovely Mosaic Pop-up shop/café, the Skillshare project ran two sessions – one on making origami with Shimako and one on creating upcycled containers with Bridget.
Kids and their parents loved those!
We've had some popular IT skillshares – on creating a website and on tweeting.
We've also had some fun sessions, such as learning circus skills - including hulla-hooping - on the market square.
We've had some more quiet creative one, such as writing with Roberta.
Or discovering the love life of snails...
Neeta has run a very well-attended Indian cookery session, dazzling us with her skills! Don't miss the next one on June 15th!
Eating together is something we rather enjoy doing, as you can see from a shared lunch at Sue's home, following a skillshare to create an edible garden with Larch. Don't miss the Poetry Picnic skillshare coming up on July 12th, it should be great fun!
And it's a joy to witness the sharing of skills "just for the love of it" spreading far and wide in our community: the Arts Hub are doing it at their lovely popup events on the Market Square...
... and of course Dr Bike is also there most Saturdays, helping and training all cyclists who need a hand!
But I'd like to end this very limited sampling of the Skillshare project with something else we love to do together: nothing at all! And Hilary Bee in her 'Time to Breathe' sessions at the Forge Yoga Centre can help us do just that, fruitfully!
Apologies to all those who haven't been mentioned here, for lack of space, and huge gratitude to all: the facilitators who offer their time for free and those who attend and make it all possible. If you'd like to be on the mailing list, please send your name and email address to Annie on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to join a team that will soon be taking on the project, please contact Lou on email@example.com or 01803 867358. Go well... and share your skills!