Search Heart and Soil

People aren't all bad... I suppose.

This weekend I went to the Rococco Gardens in Painswick.  It was absolutely lovely.  I didn't have my camera as the weather was a bit bad but I did have a moving experience with a gentle man who stopped me for a chat.  He pointed out that the bench I had been resting on, down in the valley of the garden, was there in memory of his mother.  It then transpired that there were further benches dedicated to other members of his family.  There was one for his wife, one for his mother, one for his father and one for both his brother and little sister.  He said to me with a small smile but with a quiver in his voice, that he was the last one.  His wife died in 2005 and every Sunday afternoon he came to her bench to chat with her.  To let her know the children and grandchildren were well, that the garden was looking good and that he loves her.

It brought a whole new light to the gardens and to the memorial benches that often decorate our beauty spots in Britain.  It's easy to forget that they were put there by grieving families to commemorate a life that loved and breathed-in the views, just as we do now.

Oh, that gentle man made my day and I wish him all the joy in the world. 


Here is a shopping basket wot I have made and that... 

Below is one of me flower arranging willow vases.  It's hard to know how to price it.  I've had a few offers, wildly different!    Actually I'm finding it a bit tricky to price up my baskets.  I don't feel comfortable charging for things!  I can be so bloody useless!

Any help is appreciated!




  1. Ahhh Hen, you'd give them away if you weren't careful! Sometimes I feel similarly; the time it takes designing and producing what I make would make the price prohibitive if reflected in the cost. What are the benchmarks in your industry I wonder (I loath managerialism and corporate speak). The quality of your work and the 'bespoke' aspect means they are superior quality... Ethical trading is completely er, ethical! Benchmarks, memorial benches, perhaps the wise and lovely man was meant to be a guiding influence in some way.

  2. That's a very touching story Hen.

    Deep in the forest along the banks of the Rouge River there is an isolated bench dedicated to a loving mother. I pass it by on the weekends when taking my dog for a run. Every July when we pass we discover bouquets of flowers left there on her birthday.

    It is a beautiful way to remember a loved one.

  3. I think people need to have a place to go where they feel close to their loved one, it's nice.
    What I really have a gripe with tho' is road side shrines, all those flowers laid out... it seems so voyeristic.

    On the basket front..where do you sell them then? they are lovely

  4. Lizzie, Benchmarks - I looked up what it meant in businessy terms and thought 'bloody hell, she just might be right'! :)

    Barrie, My mum's friend passed suddenly recently and they have all clubbed together to put a bench in his favourite place at the local rugby pitch.

    Sarah, I know what you mean about roadside shrines. Although I understand why they feel the need to do it, I think it's too distracting for the likes of me when I'm driving. It does remind me to drive a bit more mindfully - well, while I'm crashing looking at them!

    I don't have a shop front yet. I'm building a website at the moment so that when I'm ready I have somewhere secure for people to buy from me. At the moment people are getting in touch through my email on this blog and we sort it out from there. :)


  5. You are right. People are not all bad. Some have good stories, some unfortunately have bad stories and some force us to partake in large scale stories that are not in the interest and health of the earth.

    You live a great story Hen. Your baskets are great. I understand not wanting to charge people a lot. We have the same story and issue concerning wildlife photography or the crafts Stacey makes. In some ways I would rather just give it away to the people who truly resonate with the objects on display.

  6. If you're really stuck with basket pricing, use a simple formula and then adjust it to fit. Work out how long it takes you to make a basket, including the time to prepare the willow, plan the design, etc., Then work out your hourly rate, for instance, what would be the minimum hourly rate your would go temping for? Multiply the two. Don't forget to add on the material costs and then an element of profit.

    Making a profit, however small, isn't a dirty or bad thing to do - nobody is compelled to buy your baskets, but if they do, I'm sure they would want to know that it wasn't costing you or leaving you with nothing to show for all your effort. The sort of people who want the very cheapest of cheap things aren't likely to buy from you anyway; the people who buy are those who want something made with love and mindfulness.

    Just my two pen'orth!

  7. That's a lovely story about the old gentleman. Your baskets - you need to charge a price that covers all your costs as well as the time you spend on making them. Shepton Witch is right, there's nothing wrong with making a profit on beautiful, handmade crafts.

  8. Such beautiful baskets...I could look at them all day. I have a basket that I made at a willow workshop a number of years ago - it was hard work all that twisting and fiddling...but I love my basket!

  9. What a lovely interaction to share with someone.

    About your baskets, just remember that money is another form of energy, so there is no reason to be hesitant to get the energy you need for your time and love you have put into an item. You could maybe ask each basket what it feels it should cost, I bet they would tell you.

  10. Wonderful story! And your baskets....they are just gorgeous! :) So happy to have found you! :)

  11. Bernie, your photographs are amazing and the bags and needlefelting Stacey does is awesome! I totally understand wanting to give them to people who'll really love them. Totally understand.

    Shepton Witch, once again THANK YOU LOADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Rowan you're right, if I'm ever going to make a living I'll need to just pull myself together and work out true costs!

    Mara, there's somethig really special about making something really useful just by twisting and fiddling isn't there!! :)

    Stacey, If I were to ask the baskets how much they think they cost they'd be very mischievous and unhelpful. Well, that's how they are when I'm weaving!

    Hello Andrea!! You dog photography is amazing! I love it! Lovely to see you here.


  12. Hen, that old gents story is so sad, If he is the last one, who will add a bench for him alongside all the other family benches?

    Leanne x

  13. Hi Hen,

    re pricing baskets. If you have a look at my website
    You'll be able to match up some of my baskets with prices, if that helps.
    You might feel that, as a beginner, you might want to knock a little off the prices, but ONLY do it if you feel you could have done better. If you feel you made a basket to the best of your ability, then charge full price.
    I'm frequently told our baskets are too cheap. but we would rather keep them at an affordable price, so anyone can have one.

    Hope this helps,

  14. Indeed, such a beautiful basket. It is an odd quirk of human nature that we don't value things as much when they are cheap, only if they are expensive, or free as a gift. Cheap is cheap.

    What a moving story about the old gentleman. I hope he is happy. In his way, he probably is. It reminds me of a beautiful poem I once heard read by the poet, an Apache medicine man, Ernesto Alvarado, who did a recital here in Pembrokeshire. The poem was called "I will listen to the wind, Ben Pari" and was about his friend who was grief stricken about the loss of his wife. His friend told him how one day he sat down on a wind-swept rock and felt his wife's presence, and his grief was transformed. The story inspired Ernesto to write the poem. He allowed me to copy it at the recital, but as I don't know if it is published or not, I'd rather respect his copy right and not quote the whole poem, though I'm sure he won't mind if I quote a few lines from the end.

    "But now as I look toward the sky
    On Summer days, on winter nights
    Fall crisp morns or warm spring eves
    Your essence caresses me.

    So now I know our love still glows
    Our lips will meet when breezes blow
    Your love on wind returns to me."

  15. Hen, what a pleasure to have found your blog. My husband and I farm in Ontario,Canada (we grow specialty mushrooms), and although we have always lived in harmony with Nature, lately it seems we are trying to become more and more self-sufficient. Large gardens with produce to put down for winter, learning survival skills and living connected to Spirit are all wonderful ways to live on our earth.

    Looking forward to reading more about you!



Thank you so much for leaving a comment. Remember...

'Is it kind, is it necessary'?

Related Posts with Thumbnails