I grew up on the edges of Sheffield City Centre, and spent my childhood escaping to the local guide camp. woods & Peak District to get muddy & pick up stuff! The woods & moorland are where I feel connected and my work is inspired by and drawn from the surroundings. I’m passionate about maintaining & nurturing the woodland environment & its heritage & passing on skills to others.
I studied Design & Technology Secondary Education at Sheffield Hallam University & took the conventional path of teaching mainstream education, but as the years flew by my main subject (woodwork) dwindled to a shadow of its former self. I fell into teaching Art, IT & Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I moved into special education, which at that time still valued woodwork & heritage crafts, but again that became victim to 'educational progress'....I then climbed the ladder higher & the more I climbed the less I liked the view from the top.
’m often asked how I ‘ended up’ here. In a run a way from it all' moment I left a flourishing teaching career to become a woodland ranger. I had become disconnected with my real passion- teaching crafts & had become part of a world which set unrealistic, unattainable goals to those most disconnected with education.
I am inspired by working with the elements & the seasonality of traditional crafts, not battling against them. Although on a cold, wet, damp January morning, when I can’t feel my fingers or toes despite the thermals, I might say differently. As the seasons turn I move from coppicing, planting, stripping, weaving into events, teaching, & so the cycle continues every yearI have fallen in love with basketry, but to do it all is a challenging lifestyle, and the realities of the woodland work and the physical nature of the basket-making process can take their toll. I am not getting any younger! Its a difficult way to make a living & it's labour-intensive to harvest the raw materials as well as make the products.
But its me & I love it- the whole cycle is slower than 'normal life' & I like that pace –there’s something about the willow itself – the feel of it, the smell (especially when its steamed, the textures and colours. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a connection that goes deep & without it I wouldn't be me.
I recently moved into soap-making & other natural cosmetics. I realise my hands & body will soon tell me enough is enough. So with that in mind lockdown helped me create a range of fully certified soaps, creams etc......all based on willow bark, charcoal & natural herbs, woodland flora & fauna & seeds (you can't keep a basketmaker from her willow!) and so Hedgerow Hare was born.
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Rachel Hutton Hedgerow Hare 07909880499 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com