A quick trip to the Country: Knockholt's Horticultural Show

Last weekend I went to visit family friends who live in Knockholt, a wonderful village just outside Orpington, Kent which is about 30 mins from Brixton on the train. Very handy! I've been visiting since I was a child so it's always very familiar, a bit like going home. Anyway I went along to the Horticultural Show which many family members had entered exhibits and it was a great few hours in the countryside away from the hustle and bustle. Here are a few images of what I saw including prize veg, flowers and flower arrangements. There was even a photography section but I wasn't able to get any photos. Anyway enjoy:

Yep there is a reason why Kent is called the Garden of England! Simply wonderful and I forgot to mention that I couldn't covey the smell. Divine is the word to sum it up, especially by the roses and sweet peas! And such a great community event. Now if only I could grow flowers in time....

Lambeth Palace

Now I've lived in London since I was 18. I'm now, well lets just say past 40 and I never realised you could actually visit Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Apparently you can visit during the day but my very good friend and neighbour Sue told me about a rare Open Evening they were holding as part of the NGS (National Garden Scheme). I'd been to another NGS event earlier this month so could pass up this opportunity.
 I've gone past in the bus and marvelled at the size of the garden. But to reach the garden you have to walk past this impressive frontage!
And then you walk through various 'rooms' which vary from fairly formal...
To fairly vast. Would you believe this is in central London opposite the Houses of Parliament?

These roses were incredible. It looked like a scene from Alice in Wonderland, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a pack of cards painted them red!
Throughout the garden there were loads of helpful tour guides. One wonderful woman pointed out this flower which from a tree tulip - yes this amazing flower was on a tree!
It was a picture perfect evening to enjoy such a glorious garden
Swinging on a tree....
Oh and there were loads of beehives. You could even buy honey produced by the bees who have  the same bee keeper as the Queen (well of course they do...)
I loved the cobweb within this thistle
There was also a small mound featuring a rotunda and there was also a tree planted by Mary I. That was circa 1550!!!

The size of this sage was enormous - the leaves were almost as big as my hand!
Sadly I couldn't get a photo demonstrating the various periods of the building, the oldest of part of the building dates back to circa 12th Century and it is one of the oldest continuously cultivated gardens in the UK.
Finally a quick selfie with me (with the big hair) and my friend Sue. If you are in London I would urge you to visit Lambeth Palace. Definitely a hidden gem and next to the equally wonderful Garden Museum.

World Archaeology Festival 2015

My day job sadly isn't craft related, I work at UCL in the Archaeology Department as an administrator but I do get to use my creative side by taking photos of events for them. Last week we held our annual Archaeology Festival where members of the public can have a go at a wide range of experimental archaeology activities. Just to warn you there is a deer carcass a little further down so if you're squeamish don't scroll down! 
First up the ever popular flint napping
The conservation student's table outside was packed all day
 As was making a roman oil lamp from clay
Here are the final products
Crowds gathered to watch Dr Matt Pope demonstrate butchery neolithic style using stone tools to butcher a recently culled deer.
Now I'm fairly squeamish but I was mesmerised the first time I saw this.
There is no blood and the carcass itself once skinned was a piece of beauty. Oh and the skin was given over to someone else who started the tanning process.
Prof Marcos Martinon Torres wowed the crowds turning coins gold
If only I'd paid more attention as to how he did it I could be rich!!
Cave painted brought out the creative side of many 
Possibly my favourite activity to photograph was making fire medieval style. I love this picture
Here is Lambeth Scot Group (yes Brixton follows me everywhere!! I had no idea they were going) showing us how to make a really impressive flame.
It wasn't just outside there were plenty of activities inside
A wide range of demonstrations as well as hands on activities up in the conservation lab, I've never seen it so busy!
And finally bread making Egyptian style. All in all it was a great afternoon and the busiest we've had to date. If you're interested there are also posts from 2014, 2013 and 2012.

Manmade at the Truman Brewery

So it's been a busy couple of days. On Friday I went down to Manmade, the brainchild of the talented Mr Wingate who along with Crafty Fox and Etsy UK curated a fantastic event featuring 100% male makers. The perception of the craft world of the designer maker is that it's fairly female top heavy but this event was show casing a cast of 60 men with a fantastic range of products. There were some familiar faces as well as some new to me. Here is what I saw: 

Ray Stanbrook - I bought one of his cushions at the last market and I love it.
New work by Cha Com Letras - celebrating the bicentenary of Alice in Wonderland
I think everyone fell in love with Softsigns work just a little bit....
Despite being on Brick Lane there was a clear presence of Crafty Fox's spiritual home, and mine, Brixton. This by Postcode Prints
Quirky lights from Bent Copper
The smell from Tree Beard's products was simply divine. Actually made me wish I had a beard!!
Had to treat myself to a set of notebooks from the wonderful Sort who were new to me but I loved the colours and type.

New work from Rodology - these are watch winders - love it!
I was particularly please to see Martin Tomsky's work in the flesh as I'd first read about it on Paper Panda's Facebook page
Jimbobart was there, as always, in full force (he creates all the illustrations for Crafty Fox events).
And here is the man himself doing a bit of live art.
The Rhythm Parlour was giving trims throughout the day
Was great to see new work from Hooksmith
I adored this little deep sea diver pendant by Daniel Darby Jewellery
The next few shots are from the wonderful I Am Acrylic who were also running jewellery workshops throughout the weekend.

Of course with the Crafty Fox being involved there was bound to be alcohol involved and was great to see Brixton Beer for sale. Keeping it local even through we were in the East End!

All in all Manmade was such a great event. Such a nice vibe and great to see a sea of blokes proving that craft and designer making can be a man's world too.