I have had a colourful career full of design, pattern and variation.
John and I left London to live in the Forest of Dean several years after we finished our degrees at Art College.
Hart House is tucked away just behind the church in Ruardean, the highest of the villages in the Forest of Dean. At the top of the hill we can view 7 counties when the day is clear.
Hart House, a 17th century wreck which we discovered and all we could afford over 30 years ago. The agent confirmed it was the place for us. So we started the slog of converting the house along with the slaughter house, stables, dairy and cobblers shop into a home full of potential where ideas and creativity unfold.
John and I have been making things since forever. I have always had a passion for colour and textures which led me to set up business designing exclusive handknits inspired by the landscape around me. The colours lended themselves well to the menswear market and were much favoured by Japanese, New York and Boston clients.
This led to a new career to unfold. Whilst they were in primary school an opportunity opened up to deliver family learning with a difference. For over 10 years I ran and organised Forest Familes Together and this was quickly taken up by numerous schools in the area. Activities were varied and numerous.
We made things, we cooked things, we made lots of different things, we used scissors, we used glue, we made life sized paintings of ourselves, we made a vast array of crafty arty things, we had mad science sessions were we blew up ballons with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, we went on trips with the Forestry Commission and we built bonfires and cooked marshmallows on them, made shelters to keep the water out?, made sculptures from fallen branches, solved treasure hunts, and we made nesting boxes with the RSPB and more and more and more. Advantages were soon seen by the schools and the children were always excited if it were a Forest Family day.
I believe Forest Families was a fore runner of Forest Schools in our area. The majority of Primary Schools have now seen the advantages and actively combine Forest Schools in their cirriculum. I am glad that Forest Families may have contributed to promoting this kind of education for children and since has been widely talken up as important for children's learning and experiences.
Funding became scarce and sadly after 10 years of successfully obtaining funding there was no more for Forest Families Together.
What to do now?
Well, why not deliver a similar concept for families to enjoy from home. And so Flaxen Hare Designs was born.....
Hart House Many Moons Ago
All set for winter
Shelterbuilding with Forest Families
50 Shades of Mud
A best seller
When Harriet and Ella were born I focused my creativity on them, who have brought tremendous joy to my life. While they were growing up we always made things together, and if they were bored the making came out or a cake was baked and fun was had. We always enjoyed spending time and doing things together.
Our Lovlies. Much older now but
I just love this photo. Happy Memories.