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After a twenty-two year career with BT, I am now self employed offering home care for pets and livestock.  I have a productive fruit and vegetable garden and also keep chickens and bees at home.  It was the shearing of my Jacob sheep, Drop One, and determination to use first fleece that spurred me into learning to spin.  This has opened a wide world of wool and extends to felting, lockerhooking, knitting and novice use of a floor loom.

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Your guide for the day will be Karen Walsh, who qualified at Otley College with a City & Guilds Level 2 NC, to become a full-time florist in a busy local shop for over five years.  Since thyen she has helped with flowers for private functions, arranged her own daughter's wedding flowers, made special funeral tributes for friends and neighbours, and sold Christmas wreaths every year at her annual sale here in the village of Assington.

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Christmas wreath making & candle table decoration Saturday, 2 December, 2017 view

From a young age I always knew I wanted to work outside and my job certainly enables me to do that.

I moved to Suffolk two years ago to work for Suffolk Wildlife Trust where I am employed as a Nature Reserve Warden in the we4st of the county.

My job has taken me to different parts of the country including, Cornwall, the Isle of Arran and Somerset enabling me to work in a range of diverse coppice woodlands. This now includes Spouse's Grove, Arger Fen and Bradfield Wood Nature Reserves. Bradfield Woods is one of the counties best ancient woodlands sites and has been in traditional coppice management since 1252.

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Kevin has always liked keeping livestock, and has a small herd of Gloucester Old Spots and Essex Saddlebacks.  Pigs are particularly suited to the type of land that came with the house where he lives. 

He first bought four pedigree Gloucester Old Spot gilts (females that have not had their first litter) and a pedigree boar, which he kept initially in woodland.  To these he added some Essex Saddlebacks. 

He now slaughters two pigs a week which he sells via Farmers Markets, food fairs etc. and takes pleasure in eating his own meat.  He says that this is pig-keeping for fun, rather than great profit.

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Pig-Keeping - introduction Friday, 28 September, 2018 view

Started in the theatre as a scenic painter and designer.  Since coming to England from Canada, she has worked for twenty years as a decorative pa\inter in peoples' homes  She has worked in Many different types of buildings, from a modest cottage to a stately home.

She has painted a large dining room in two colours of faux marble; a large area of window shutters in faux tapestry;  a hallway in a faded aged paint effect with coats of arms; a sky and trompe l'oeil pilasters in an orangery, etc.  Have a look at the pictures on our website, and hers, for more information.

She used to own and run her own shop in Bungay called "Friend or Faux", selling her services as a decorative painter and muralist plus decorative furniture and porcelain.




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Linda Leighton has been a dedicated yoga practitioner and teacher for many years.  She has trained extensively with the British Wheel of Yoga and continues to do so.  She follows the classical and ancient yogic teachings.  She is qualifid teacher in adult education and teaches yoga for the West Suffolk College, as well as privately in and around the local community.

Linda is a complementary therapist who truly loves her work.  She also regards her clients with the greatest respect.  Embarking upon the journey of healing and person transformation requires courage.

Lind'a work is supported by her spiritual belief that all life and living has a purpose.  Awareness of higher forces at work in our lives can have a profound effect on how we give meaning to our  experiences in the past, present and future.

Being a holistic therapist, Linda takes the time to understand the unique needs of each of her clients.  Rather than purely treating symptoms, she explores the potential causes of the disease, tensin and ill-health, thereby uncovering and resolving the root of each problem.  A truly preventative approach to health-care.

Linda's role is to assist clients in their journey back to well-being through self-knowledge, inner peace and self-awareness.  Without self-awareness we are like a castle with an open door, potentialy strong and yet still vulnerable to harmful and invasive influences.  Counselling and healing form the heart of Linda's work and serve as the catalyst for drawing in the energy which is needed at that point in time.  Whilst many longstanding problems can be resolved to great effect, the path back to health and well-being can take time and rarely happens overnight.  Patience and a positive mental attitude are always gently encouraged.

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Mac is descended from a long line of Scottish stonemasons and is only the second brickie in the family.  Apprenticed to Trollope & Colls and later F J Minter, he spent seven years at technical college, gaining the National Certificate and two City & Guilds awards.  One of the highest qualified bricklayers in the UK, he won a Best Craftsman in Britain award at Olympia.

Following two years of national service, where he was Regimental Drilling Instructor in the No.1 Btn of the Ordnance Corps, he joined the family building company.  Work abroad included operating bricklaying machines involved in system build housing. 

He has been  self-employed ever since then, spending the longest time, 23 years, on civil engineering projects building the London sewers.  Latterly he has worked on the Inner Temple, and many of the royal palaces, repairing and re-building the elaborate chimneys and other sections of specialist brickwork.

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Bricklaying for amateurs Sunday, 4 March, 2018 view

Mary Butcher, formerly a Zolologist whose graduate research focused on spider ecology, trained with a traditional basketmaker, Alwyne Hawkins, in Kent . She used willow and rush, our traditional materials, making functional items for local markets.  She also spent a lot of her time chair seating for local antigue dealers and private customers and, with Olivia Elton Barratt and Kay Johnson, has written a manual of seating techniques.  A Research Fellowship at Manchester Metropolitan University alerted Mary to a wealth of new creative possibilities with a wider range of materials and markets.

Mary Butcher is now an artist basketmaker still using natural materials, plastics, wire, strings, cardboard strips and paper to make containers, willow drawings and sculptures in a wide variety of scales and forms . Mary was Crafts Council Designer in Residence at the V&A in 2009, was awarded an MBE for services to basketmaking in 2012 and was one of two Crafts Skills Champions, in 2013, an award for transmission of traditional seating and basketmaking skills, an activity she feels passionate about.


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Cane & rush chair seating Friday, 31 August, 2018 view

Maryjane is an art teacher, toastmaster, storyteller and works in schools, festivals, weddings and communities.  She has an MA in digital practices.  Her hobby is detal detecting.

Having many years experience in the arts and multimedia, the Maryjane provides workshops in story telling with multi-cultural instruments, unique visual craft making, sound-scapes and dance.

Maryjane has an expanding network of clients throughout the UK and is registered with Community Artists UK, East England Artists in Education, South Norfolk Council, Norfolk Education Arts Development, and more.

Neil Storey was an apprentice electrician for British Rail, and is a commercial glass fitter, marine electrician and maints security systems at Bacton gas terminal.  His hobby is detal detecting.

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Matthew's business is called Gourmet Mushrooms (UK) Limited

Gourmet Mushrooms started growing lignicolous mushrooms in 1996 at Morants Farm Great
Bromley in north Essex. We collect local wild mushrooms and bring them into cultivation. We
currently grow a range of our own local oyster mushrooms, white cloud mushroom and our own
local reishi mushroom.

In the early years we sold to restaurants, eventually supplying all of the 2 and 3 Michelin Star
restaurants in London. Now most of our produce is sold at Farmers Markets in London on our
MushroomTable where we connect directly with our customers. We also produce a range of
mushroom growing kits for lignicolous fungi.

Alongside mushroom growing we also forage for wild plants and mushrooms when in season. We
also run Foraging Workshops in Essex and Suffolk in association with Seasonal Suffolk and the
Wild-Light Project.

Gourmet Mushrooms was founded by brothers Matthew and William Rooney. Matthew studied
Ecology at university. After graduating he spent several years as a botanical surveyor before moving
on to mushroom cultivation. William studied Environmental Science at university. After graduating
he worked for several years in marine surveying and later ran his own building company before
moving on to mushroom cultivation. Foraging for mushrooms to grow has led onto Foraging
Workshops in both wild plants and fungi.

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Foraging for fungi Saturday, 20 October, 2018 view