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Words on Weeds

Workshop series at Sailors Creek 2023 - words on weeds... by Anna Butler and Naomi Hannam

Anna says:

“Sailors Creek never fails to shift my point of view, when I give it the space to. Looking back, it pulls on the heart strings a little after half a year or so away from the creek. Away from the nitty gritty at the coalface of a volunteer organisation on a massively ambitious and achingly admirable mission to: do an environmental clean up of a treasured tidal inlet; radically rethink how boats can moor up and be lived on in tidal waters without polluting those

watercourses; secure the future of a really important and historical boat, and undertake a planting scheme within an already established scrub habitat that will provide food and space to explore, learn and create for the local community. Easy! No, it’s not easy but is it worthwhile? Absolutely.

And there I was at the end of the summer and as autumn was hinting its arrival harvesting long and limey green suckers of bramble with Naomi in preparation for the final spiky and gorgeous Meeting Weeds workshop of our 2023 series. We were wearing leather gauntlets and thick denim and still we were getting seriously frustrated grunting and growling and laughing our way through the morning. What on earth were we bloody doing wrestling with

bramble, again?? How often had anyone thought that while being at Sailors Creek? All the time is the answer, all the time! But we persevered giggling at the ridiculousness, I suppose shifting our attitude to the process as we went.

Shift your mindset and the problem becomes something else entirely, right? The process of coiling metres of thornless bramble of varying thickness – for stakes and for weavers – for the workshop participants to wind and bodkin and work with became beautiful and righteous. Bramble revealed herself as an elegant, lean and tameable beast. She deftly keeps you at arm’s length, carefully filtering out those lacking in the courage and curiosity; like that friend we all have with that vicious bite and wild arctic eyes, but reveals a penchant for camomile tea, watercolours and snuggling at home behind closed doors. Dare to get close, I urge you.

Brambling induces rambling this is now clear. The workshop series Meeting Weeds at Sailors Creek, with expert guide Naomi was filled with joyful exploration and poetry, stillness and bucketloads of laughs. We dyed silk delicious yellows using buddleia and twisted the finest cordage from nettle, bramble and New Zealand Flax, we gathered as strangers and shared moments of happy exasperation and fury, we shared books to read, thankfully lost our minds

and led with our hands.”

Naomi says:

“The workshops at Sailors Creek this summer were a generous exploration of the abundance of the land and the creativity of the hands of many people. We made colour from the landscape, rope from plants and baskets from bramble. Transformation.

It was wonderful to bring creativity to the space and to meet this special piece of land. I am so grateful for the Sailors Creek community for inviting me in, championing artists and the power of creativity in community. Thank you.”

More information on Naomi and her work can be found at her website: or

instagram: Naomi.creative.roots @the_sunflower_project_cornwall


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