Twice in a row now I’ve managed to turn my Fridays from Black to Green, and show a gentle rebuke to the mounting barrage of ‘BUY IT NOW’ e-mails pinging into my in-box. This morning I donned my wooly cardigan and off I zoomed to Portview Trade Centre in East Belfast to take part in a Winter Wreath Making Workshop, to raise funds for the charity Shared Threads NI, which makes and sends sanitary products to women in the Third World. The money from our donations today will be used to send 200 hygiene kits to a women’s prison in India; all organised by the indefatigable Kirsty King.
I was thrilled when Kirsty contacted me to say she was organising one of her creative events, and it was doubly serendipitous that it coincided with the last day of my month long challenge.
Any hint of winter blues were swiftly banished when I entered the huge airy space on the top floor of the Portview Building, with panoramic views over the city. Kirsty’s friend Janice guided us through a wreath making demonstration, before we took our places at a long table, somewhat reminiscent of the old Fairy Liquid ad when I was a child. Then we made small bunches of greenery: holly, fern and hydrangea, gathering and twisting with twine around a rose gold ring, making our wreaths as wild and bushy or as minimalist as we wished. I could still smell the sweet citrus scent of the dried orange from my finger tips an hour later. I rarely do much gardening, and I don’t work with my hands much, aside from the usual toil around the house. I found this process to be restorative and invigorating. Jenny encouraged us to keep the twine and wire so when the season is over and the leaves lose their lustre, we can make another one with freshly cut produce . ‘My kinda gal’ I thought.
I met a former work colleague and a few acquaintances from times past, and spent a splendid morning, drinking coffee, chatting as I wound and pruned. I want to do this again. I want to try different arty activities for a taste of something new and different and support a great cause while I’m at it. ‘Can we do one?’ said the children when I got home and they clapped eyes on my wreath. ‘I’d love that!’ I said, and I meant it. It would be a brilliant activity to do as a family. Often little hands tap at screens instead of working with natural stimuli, and I would love this type of sensory stimulation for them. So more of the same, Kirsty and Janice. We’ll be back!
(Thanks to the the lovely Meg on coffee duty too.)