Christmas Willow Workshop

This workshop begins with a short introduction from Penny about life on her small holding in Kangaloon in the Southern Highlands; about the importance of being in touch with nature & its seasons. Penny provides a brief outline about the nature of willow & the other different vines you use throughout the workshop. Also learn about collecting/foraging, drying, rehydrating and storage of this plant and others similar.

During the workshop start by making a Christmas wreath which is part of the simple structure that forms the Christmas cone. You then make the cone, and if you want & have time, you can proceed with a star &/or heart.

You also make traditional German salt biscuits, which will later be tied onto the Christmas cone with coloured ribbon!

Students would expect to leave the workshop with a finished Christmas cone (which you can then go home and decorate), made from wood, willow and vines. Plus a collection of traditional salt biscuit tree decorations & if time permits, an undecorated wreath, star or heart made from willow.

You need to bring a pair of secateurs and any decorations/materials you may want to weave into your work e.g. feathers, seed pods etc.

Bring a plate of food to share for lunch and a baking tray to take home your salt biscuit decorations.

Sorry no concession.

Materials List

Students will need to bring to the workshop a pair of secateurs and any decorations/materials they may want to weave into their work e.g. feathers, seed pods etc. Bring a plate of food to share for lunch & a baking tray to take home their salt biscuit decorations.

Tutor: Penny Simons

Penny Simons is an Artist and Gardener living and working in the Southern Highlands of NSW.  She decided upon a tree change 4.5 years ago and moved with her family from Sydney to Kangaloon.  Before having her 2 children, she was one of the founding partners of “Cloth”,  a Sydney based, bespoke business, producing hand printed and constructed textiles. She left Cloth after 5 years to create her own unique, independent clothing label, “Scorch”, which she ran until she had children. Penny has since studied and worked in the fields of biodynamics, landscape design, craft and horticulture. She uses all of these principles and techniques with her family on their land, with friends and her community to share the knowledge she has learned.  Prior to this, Penny gained a BA hons. in Constructed Textiles, majoring in Weaving, from Winchester School of Art in England.  “My work is about cross pollinating all these art forms, and the effect that working in this way can have on our senses and our level of awareness." Penny achieves this by working with the seasons and materials from her native environment & the garden to create sustainable art and craft work and then runs workshops to teach people these techniques. For those living in the city, the workshops provide a taste of rural life and nature. They are about reconnecting with the earth, through her season’s and the materials she provides. By working with elements from nature, students will get a sense of “relief” & become aware of the possibilities of working with nature’s materials and the spirit they evoke. They will leave feeling enriched, and inspired by their own work and the rest of the group they are working with. Using materials foraged from their land in the Southern Highlands and any that students would like to bring to weave into their work, we will create, wall hangings, & sculpture that bring nature into our lives, hearts and homes. For images please see below. For more information on Penny and her work please visit: