What is Forest Club?
Forest Club is an opportunity to take a day to explore and engage with nature in a new and creative way.
Courses for adults of all ages and family groups (age restrictions may apply).
The day runs from 10 am – 3pm.
The session is led by Stephen Stockbridge, sculptor, maker and Forest School teacher.
We explore many aspects of woodlands crafts, working at a gentle and respectful pace.
Willow weaving in the woods
Weaving willow in its many sculptural forms from large willow animals to living willow dens.
Sculptural green wood carving
A playful and informative introduction to carving unseasoned green wood into large scale carvings.
Nothing beats carving a spoon around a fire, in the woods with a group of fellow whittlers.
Fire making is part of all the Forest Club sessions, as a campfire brings a comforting atmosphere as well as warmth.
There is an opportunity in every course to learn the finer skills of preparing, starting and maintaining a good campfire, in a safe and supportive environment.
At the end of all sessions, we will extinguish the fire.
If you choose to participate, this is a moment to share our reflections of the day with each other.
Living willow sculpture and sculptural willow weaving – the different ways of working with willow
From November to April, we will be offering living willow courses to understand the fundamental points of successful living willow sculptures. These pieces will stay in the forest where they are growing.
Year round, we offer courses in sculptural willow weaving, using dry, soaked willow. These pieces explore the simplicity of creating large organic sculptural forms and more figurative work. The group decides what they would like to cover in the session.
We will learn to understanding the qualities of different varieties of willow and what each is suitable for.
The basic price of the course covers all materials used. The collective sculpture will be donated to our art adoption scheme. See link for details.
There is an option to take a piece home at an additional cost, depending on the weight of the willow used, and the agreement of other members of the group.
If you have a particular project in mind, contact me directly and we can discuss the options.
Sculptural green wood carving
Sometimes we carve large single forms together like a totem pole and other times, we carve individual elements that are brought together to create a sculpture.
Harnessing some traditional green wood-working skills, with the opportunity to use a pole lathe and shave horse.
Open to beginners and improvers alike, these friendly and informative sessions teach the foundations of carving a spoon from a log. Please note, unlike some other courses, we believe in starting our spoons from scratch. This often includes cutting a branch from a tree in this managed woodland. We use an axe to form the basic shape of our spoon, progress to mastering the use of a straight carving knife and then on to a crook knife to hollow out the bowl.
We will also cover knife safety, tool maintenance and an introduction to knife sharpening.
As we immerse ourselves in nature and ancient crafts, we honour and improve our health and wellbeing. This is a core aspect of all our work, balancing our lives with nature.
What we do varies according to the time of year. A relaxed open attitude is required, along with good waterproof boots and weather appropriate clothing.
Toilet facilities are available on site.
Please bring a packed lunch and flask.
The whole experience is based within The Woodlands Farm Trust, set on an 89-acre community farm on the edge of London, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
331 Shooter’s Hill, Welling, Kent, DA16 3RP
The session goes ahead, whatever the weather. We meet in the carpark at Woodlands Farm at 9.45am. See you there!