Two Watermills and a Textile Exhibition
This was my Mother's Day. First a trip to Whitchurch Silk Mill, refurbished in 2018 and utterly brilliant!
The Mill is over 200 years old and is still weaving silk today.
My Mum used to be a weaver there, and I have fond memories of going to see the film Titanic in the cinema and her disclaiming at every oportunity that she'd woven the ribbons for the hats!
I mainly went to visit the Basingstoke Creative Stitchers Exhibition Picking up the Thread.
The exhibition was delightful, and full of inspirational and beautiful textiles. Epona by Jan Messant was my favourite, partly because I've always had an emotional connection to Uffington white horse and to Epona, who is the Celtic Goddess of horses.
They had a range of travelling books on show (travelling books are books which travel around the group members each month, so they can put a small piece of texile art in. You end up with a wonderful collection of textile styles and art).
I loved the silver theme, to celebrate 25 years for the group.
There was the most beautiful goldwork dragon by Elaine brum (not that I'm biased about dragons you understand).
A stunning Dorset button by Denise Luker called Night and Day.
A riot of colour and texture everywhere I looked. This is an annual exhibition and I'd highly recommend going next year if you get the chance.
So one watermill down, and the textiles as well. We looked at google for inspiration next and found a peaceful and previously unknown to us nature reserve at Winnall in Winchester, Winnall Moors.
The site is looked after by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and is a haven for water vole, birds of all types, and otters.
It has well marked and easily accessible paths, and is a great place to wander around for an hour or two. It has the most interesting textures with lichen, mosaic art, bark, and reeds, and the benches all have little maps carved in them even I can't get lost!
It even has duck boards! I love a duck board.
After a late picnic lunch in Winchester we dropped into the Winchester City Mill, looked after by the National Trust. This is a working flour mill, producing 25 tonnes of flour per year.
The mill race in all it's noisy glory!
The building, machinery and how it all works are well explained, but it was the garden at the back of the mill that really made it special for me.
I loved the way that the small space has been transformed into a haven of peace and quiet, with spring beds full of daffodils, and the river flowing by on either side providing a beautiful contrast to the birdsong all around.
I'm looking forward to visiting in the summer and seeing the gardens again.