Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lovely Launceston

I've just returned from a heavenly weekend, readers. If only Cornwall were not seven hours away on a Friday night, I'd be off down there like a shot whenever the opportunity arose. Not just anywhere though, but to the little town of Launceston, in particular into the picturesque coutryside, down a bumpy farm track to here...

I've waited for what seems an age for this weekend to come. I have often read about Cowslip Workshops in quilting (and other) magazines and this time, it was finally my turn to visit. Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day and the place was looking picture perfect. Cowslip Workshops was set up by its owner Jo Colwill in the barns at her and her husband's farm. The setting is to-die-for. Many courses are run there, on quilting and all sorts of crafty subjects, and there is also a fantastic quilting shop. Did I mention there's also a cafe?

Saturday was a great time to visit as Jo had organised a charity afternoon tea so Cowslip was adorned with bunting and jammy, creamy scones! There were also some extra sellers in the barns who had brought with them divine vintage goodies for their stalls. Up in this beautiful barn, my cheque book was about to take a serious hit!

Yes, my fabric friend Donna Flower had brought along a divine selection of vintage fabrics and haberdashery. It looked splendid in this setting.

There was such a lot to do that I don't feel I did Cowslip justice in two days. A sneaky visit to the patchwork shop was a must though. There can't be many which boast such a fabulous setting?

Inside, it is crammed pretty much floor to ceiling with fabrics, books and quilting supplies, not to mention some lovely gift items handmade by talented local people. (Sorry the rubbish camera struggled with the light inside the shop. Bad camera!) Jo and her staff are lovely and welcoming and being quilters themselves, have expert advice to impart.

There are lots of different fabric ranges from 1930's reproduction to civil war to flannel and batiks. The piles below are all Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

There are shelves groaning with gorgeous china for sale. This is used in the tea shop, too and some bears the Cowslip Workshops motif.

Yet more!

I can't forget to show you the tea shop where we were lucky enough to have our lunch each day.

All the food is freshly produced using local ingredients where possible and was really delicious.

But the real excitement took place in here, where a gaggle of about 14 eager crafty ladies were to gather to take part in a very special workshop indeed.

Inside, the barn with its lofty ceiling was light and airy, yet cosy. Tea, coffee and homemade biccies were in constant supply, there were three large tables for us to work at and the walls were used to display some stunning quilts. There were shelves full of gorgeous quilting books and all the chairs had patchwork cushions. The tables were decorated with pretty flowers gathered from the hedgerow. Very inspirational.

We were here to meet and be taught by this wonderful lady, Julie Arkell. You may well have heard of her and seen her beautiful folk art. I posted about Julie's exhibition in Frome here. Attending this weekend was a bit of a dream come true for me.

And here I am, ready and eager for two days learning from the master!

I've still to show you Julie's work which she brought to show us and what I managed to make over the weekend. Soon...


  1. Ooooooohhhhhhhh I need a tena lady as I nearly wet myself with excitement when I saw that building as I knew what you were going to say, you'd been to meet Julie Arkell!!! I'm totally in love with everything Julie makes and to go on a workshop would be like a dream come true. Can't wait to see all the lovely things you made,Lucey x

  2. P S I forgot to mention how nice you look and I see you're wearing a JA brooch, very pretty, Lucey

  3. Ah Lucey, you made me laugh (think we both need a Tena lady now!) The brooch was made by my little hands, actually, to Julie's design.
    Hen xxx

  4. Sounds like pure heaven to me! Such an inspiring post, craftyness at its best!!! Am sooo jealous, but i think I would have been so nervous too!!
    You fabric pile looks beautiful!!
    Nattie x

  5. Ha ha...for one crazy second I thought you had come to visit us here in Launceston TASMANIA...even the buildings looked similar.
    And you are wearing that gorgeous skirt of yours.

  6. I'm so happy for you! your dream came true! can't wait for next episode!! jennyx

  7. Wow! What a wonderful place to live, work, and craft! Thank you for sharing such lovely inspiring photos Hen. x

  8. I'm with Tanya I thought you'd popped down to Tasmania, the only Launceston I'd heard of until now. What a fabulous weekend & you look absolutely gorgeous in the pic, just so happy & eager to get stuck in.

  9. One of our daughters lives in Launceston Hen and so we are there a lot yet still haven't made it to Cowslip! I only live an hour away for heaven's sake!! Looking forward to more p
    ics x

  10. it looks like a wonderful place!

  11. Oh dear! Missed it by a week, I'm going that way on Thursday. Dad lives in Okehampton so we won't be far from there, but I am going to the Vintage and Textile Fair at Tavistock on Saturday it won't make up for missing out at Cowslip, but I'm sure it will be very interesing.
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  12. Oohh I want to go to Cowslip now! It looks like a treat for the eyes with all those bolts of beautiful fabric. The 30s reproduction fabrics sounds just like my sort of thing.

    P.S. Lovely bright eyed photo of you there Hen, you're brimming with excitement!

  13. Perfect indeed. What a fantastic place. I've done a little quilting in the past and think I might try to find a beginner's course (your quilts would inspire anyone.
    I was lucky enough to go on a Julie Arkell course at http://www.hopeandelvis.com/ a little while ago - and all thanks to you! Now you are thinking - what did that have to do with me? Well earlier this year you did a post about the Smile exhibition featuring Julie's work, so I did some mooching about on the internet and found the one day course! We made bracelets out of Suffolk punches. She is a really lovely lady. Thank you Helen.
    Carol xx

  14. All that AND cake...wonderful.
    Time away learning something new is just bliss,she said, a teensy tinge of envy in her voice....

  15. Wow Hen, looks like you had a great weekend, cannot wait to see what lovlies you made.

  16. I have just come across your blog and I love it! Your photos are wonderful. Cowslip looks like the best place to go if you are a quilter!

  17. Didn't we have a lovely time? I really enjoyed spending quality time with you in such a beautiful setting and amongst such inspiring and creative people.

    Love that photo of you, you look gorgeous.

  18. WOWEEEEE!!

    I live about 1 hour away and have never been!!! I know what i'll be up to next week. Looks lovely, and what a lovely stash of fabric you have next to you. Lucky Lady.
    What are you making?????

  19. That's a very large stack of rather pretty fabric sitting next to you! It looks a lovely place to go - you will have to try Canterbury next - there is a lovely Sewing Shop now, who do lots of day courses.

    Pomona x

  20. I was reading along and drooling over the photos and at the end I see your adorable cute smily face.. you're just a doll. Glad you had such a good time.

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  21. That really is a lovely picture of you Hen...you look like the cat that has got the cream! So pleased you enjoyed your weekend. Sue x x

  22. Oh what a fabulous place,I'd love to go there.I ve been quilting for the past two years,looks like lots of inspiration there.Cant wait to see what you made!!Please show us soon.julie.x

  23. Ooh, lucky you, Julie Arkell! And that shop looks wonderful. The good news this week is that it is a scientific fact that quilting is good for the health, at last something we love which is ggod for us!

  24. You lucky lady! Can't wait to see what you made. You're wearing that fab skirt again and I love the way you've co-ordinated so well with Julie's pinny!

  25. Hen, your weekend course must have been great fun, and I am definitely looking forward to hearing more about the workshop.

    Meanwhile, let me also say that the photo of you is a beautiful portrait. It shows your lovely face but also really indicates your zest for life.


  26. Excellent post as usual Hen, I might have to go back and read it again!

  27. You look so pretty and happy Hen! You must have had the best time! I really should start counting how many times I tell you how jealous I am. :D I'm so very glad you share your adventures with us. :)

  28. wow what a fantastic weekend! Looking forward to seeing what you made :) x

  29. It looks wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing - can't wait to see the next installment!

  30. Hello Hen so glad you had a great time.The setting was really beautiful. Hope and Elvis is hosting another Julie Arkell weekend in 2012 if anyone is interested pop over to Louise's website and have a peek. i have attended two now and they are MAGICAL.

  31. Definitely my idea of heaven!! Hope all is well with you!

  32. ho qu il a l air joli ce magasin .... de France cela me donne envie de venir ypasser quelques jours ...en tout cas la ballade me semble agréable
    merci de me faire partager ce mmnet de bonheur
    bon dimanche
    Marie Claude

  33. What fun! It shows from the happy look on your pretty face that you had a grand time.
    And I love the way Julie dresses -- apron & flowers in her hair -- charming and adorable. Makes me want to start wearing my aprons more and search through my craft boxes for flowers to put in my hair ;).

  34. I stumbled across the patchwork shop while we were in the uk a few years ago, it certainly is a great shop. Looking forward to going back there one day.


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