When Richard at Hendrewennol fruit garden asked us to run the Broomstick Factory at Hendrewennol we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for! We had happily run some willow workshops at the Fruit Farm over the summer so we knew that it was a lovely, friendly and popular place for families but quite how popular only became clear last week when we found ourselves frantically producing in the region of 700 broomsticks ….
We used a centuries old Besom design for our handmade brooms and decided to use a mixture of wild and farmed willow for the brush and extremely thick structural willow for the broom stick handles. We made a wide variety of sizes and designs to suit the customer – aged from 18 months to around very grown up, from very wild to very neat!
Some of our broomstick factory production line workers came for some ‘broomstick training’ where they learned to quickly make a basic broom and then make a beautiful (some more beautiful than others!) wrap around the handle – we made 35 in around an hour and a half, good practise for the following week! The children at the event would choose a broom and then weave with us on the day before taking their broom for a happy half hour or so decorating with beads and ribbons and feathers.
We set up a display with a giant woven sculptural spider and web and sorted our Broomstick Shop ready to go for the weekend – stocked with 100 brooms. To our amazement these were all sold by Sunday! So the fun began – the challenge of making another 600 or so broomsticks ready for the children to weave each day in the Broomstick Factory in the run up to 31st October.
It was an absolutely fantastic week and we have to say a huge thank you to our Broomstick Factory production line workers – Danielle Bastier, Ellie Bastier, Ingrid Walker, Mary Ponting, Tracy James-Liebermann, Kate Wilde, Eva Krasenska and all the Hendrewennol staff who pitched into to help us on the day!