The moment you've all been waiting for !!!! We've organised another year of making and learning for 2024. The most popular courses of stool and hedge chair making are up there, but so are a couple of old favourites that we haven't run for a couple of years. We've thought about how we can engage you all a bit more with the woodland around the workshop and the natural resource in terms of coppice and the furniture making potential. We've also asked two environmental / conservation enthusiast pals to lead a couple weekends of Woodland Wanders. (More on that soon) Our resident carving spoon and shrink pot guru has been given the go ahead from our Japanese ambassador to lead a wagatabon tray course - check them all out please. Remember there's a voucher option if you're scratching your head for a festive gift !!! Hope you will find a date that interests you - pass on to a pal !!
New Courses for 2024
Where does the year go ? Well we are getting asked now for dates for next year. We will be putting these up on the website in mid October with a few new ones and some old favourites added in. We are very grateful to all you loyal followers, recent attendees, "repeat offenders" and local businesses for supporting and telling everyone about what we do here at Big Tree Society. Thank you all !
Here's some happy smiley faces for you !
Well we've started ... so we had better finish! Lothian Estates who own the land where our workshop and gallery have kindly given us a piece of ground that has lain fallow for many years to use for community benefit. So we've got an enthusiastic group up and running to work it for future products, food, and enhanced biodiversity. We've had some help from some Big Tree pals who had done some work on boundary trees, ploughing the ground and getting areas levelled for polytunnels. The aim is to grow native tree stock on a small scale for planting out in the Borders and to create a bit of a forest garden. Maybe put in a few allotments as well.
We will grow more willow for basketmakers and bring on hazel trees to plant out for coppice products and to supply our local hedge laying team. We've bulked out old hedges and created new ones to soften the plots edges. This is going to take a while - watch our team transform the space !
Our Friday crew can turn their hand to anything!! Our willow beds have been cut for this years courses making baskets, sculptures, garden structures, bird feeders and Xmas wreaths. It's great to have a continuous and sustainable supply of our own material. We are going to restock with some other varieties from Wooplaw Woods to widen the range of colour and end use.
We have been coppicing the bigger, older willows at our tree nursery site. They will be stripped and used in other nailed furniture courses here at Big Tree in May.
Our Friday crew have been very busy working on a series of hazel products. These chairs, stools and benches are prototypes for a new course we will be holding in the autumn. It's all part of the Future Furniture project we have kicked off here at Big Tree Society. We have begun work on our small native tree nursery here at Harestanes and will be mainly bringing on hazel and alder to plant out in other community woodlands, private and public spaces.
These will then be coppiced and sustainably managed for a continuous supply of material. We have access to over 400 coppiced stools of hazel here in the Scottish Borders and are already managing these and producing products for hedging, fencing, garden, furniture and smaller items.
If you would like to get involved in our Future Furniture project please get in touch. email@example.com
We are going to start a new tree nursery project we are going to build and develop close by the Big Tree Society gallery and workshop. We are already using native ash on our courses that we planted some 40 years ago and use our own faster growing willow, hazel and birch for other course products. We have a careful closed system and chain of supply but we are always striving for a completely sustainable approach. Hence the need to plug the gaps - so we want to raise our next generation of chairs and stools from some of the timber.
We have always made small artworks from "waste" and are now offering some of these for sale to get our small scale nursery project up and running. All funds raised will be used to clear and prepare 3.5 acres of rough ground on which we will site tunnels and beds to bring on young trees. Trees will be grown from locally sourced seed stock and the resulting plants be used in local community projects or individuals to become their caretakers for the future. Please have a look at the artworks here and become part of a Big Tree Society legacy.
We will be looking for volunteers to come and help get this exciting project up and running. We will need skills of many sorts. If you think you can become part of Future Furniture please do get in touch.
The way to create a a more sustainable future is to help create it ....
Every Friday we get visited by a varied and assorted bunch of folks. Every Friday we don't know what's going to shape out, be made or discussed. But without fail it's always different, stimulating and great craic ! These folks are all Big Tree "Repeat Offenders" ie they have all attended one or several of our courses over the years and refuse to go away !! We've got a hard core of spoon carvers, a splinter group forming up to be a SHE Shed and a smattering of after school lads. What would we do without them ? Big Tree Hugs to them all !
Here are some recent images of what often goes unnoticed on a visit to Harestanes. We've often wondered what would be the best way to record all the flora and fauna that lives with us near the workshop and gallery. This is a record of the natural environment that surrounds the popular children's playpark in the Scottish Borders. It's a record made by the people that walk, work and visit this little oasis in the busy farming community that surrounds us. We are using the fantastic free app resource of iNaturalist. If you are a regular visitor to Harestanes or The Big Tree Society please think about becoming part of this mini-citizen science project called Hidden Harestanes. You'll have to sign up, then post your observations on the Hidden Harestanes Project page here.
the big tree society