October 2020

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The Time Bandits              Gibside Sewing Group              'Nuthatch' Katherine Rodger
Welcome to Land of Oak & Iron's Newsletter

Here at Land of Oak & Iron we have been adapting to the ever evolving Coronavirus situation and it's good to know that 'We're Good to Go' - the UK's official recognition that we have worked hard to follow Covid-19 guidelines.

The Heritage Cente and café shrub in Winlaton Mill have processes in place to aid social distancing and maintain cleanliness, including enhanced cleaning regimes, hand gel at the building entrances and face masks being worn by café staff and visitors.

We hope this helps to make you feel safe when visiting, ordering food or taking part in our events and workshops.

In this month's newsletter you can find out about: Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with events, news and photographs taken by visitors and the team.
Derwent Threads : Gibside Sewing Group

If before lockdown, you ever visited café  shrub on a sunny afternoon, you may have noticed when the sun shines from the south, rather too much light illuminated the tables and customers - but not any more!

Gibside Sewing Group have created 10 stunning textile panels, which are now hanging in the windows of café shrub. The talented members of the sewing group were approached by Land of Oak & Iron to come up with a creative solution and through several discussions (over coffee and cake at both café shrub and Gibside's café) an idea was formed to create a textile art installation that would also help filter some of the strong sunlight.

Then lockdown happened and the group became a virtual sewing group.  Calling themselves 'Sew Near, Sew Far', they carried on with the project - with each member working in their own home, no longer able to meet at their regular venue in Gibside's café.

The 10 'Derwent Threads' panels illustrate the 30km long journey of the River Derwent, from the North Pennine moors, flowing down to the tidal Tyne - showing the river's changing character as it meanders through the Derwent Valley.

Next time you call into café shrub for either a take-out meal or table service, be sure to take a closer look at the textile panels - there's so much to see in the details including:
Red Kite, Green Woodpecker, Brambles, Roe Deer, Fungi, Oyster Catchers, Hedgehog, Wildflowers, Cyclists, Walkers and of course the River Derwent.


Please observe social distancing, only attend with your family/bubble and wear a face covering when entering the building - following current Covid-19 guidelines.

Time Bandits : Telling the story of swords through the ages 

Come and join the amazing historians and re-enactors Time Bandits as they bring history alive with the story of swords through the ages.  There will be live demonstrations of fighting styles and an extensive collection of swords - it promises to be a swashbuckling adventure!

The history of sword making in the Derwent Valley began in the seventeenth century when immigrant swordsmiths from Germany established a flourishing business in Shotley Bridge, where the fast flowing River Derwent provided a ready water supply and an iron-founding industry already established in the area.

The Time Bandits will show you how various swords through time were hefted, along with demonstrations of sword fighting!

This event will be held outside the Heritage Centre in Winlaton Mill, near the Courtyard area.

Please observe social distancing, only attend with your family/bubble and wear a face covering when entering the building - following current Covid-19 guidelines.

Thanks to Time Bandits for the images.
Meet the Makers

Land of Oak & Iron has been working with local artists and makers in creating our 'Meet the Maker' events at the Heritage Centre in Winlaton Mill.

We have now hosted several successful Meet the Maker events including a children's book author and illustrator, willow artists and basket makers and a pastel artist.

Our next Meet the Maker is Katherine Rodger, an artist and art tutor based in Rowlands Gill who creates stunning illustrations of British birds and landscapes. Katherine will be at the Heritage Centre on Saturday 10th October working on her latest painting and showcasing some of her work.  You can also purchase or commission an original artwork and buy Katherine's art cards, cushions, mugs and coasters.

Meet the Maker - dates for your diary:
Bird & Landscape artist, Katherine Rodger - Saturday 10th October, 10am - 4pm
Ceramic artist, Susan Crame - Saturday 24th October, 10am - 4pm
Seascape artist, Norma Burke - Sunday 8th November, 10am - 4pm
Wildlife illustrator, Sarah Gee - Saturday 21st November, 10am - 4pm
Final Meet the Maker for this year is with local author Val Scully and woodworker Kevin Boyle on Sunday 13th December, 10am - 4pm

Each artist will have thier work on display and for sale in the shop area of cafe shrub in the run up to their solo event under cover of our gazebo near the Courtyard.  Drop by anytime during their event to 'Meet the Maker', chat about their work and maybe buy or commission an original artwork.


Meet the Trust - Saturday 3 October, 10am - 1pm

The beautiful Heritage Centre at Winlaton Mill is one of the huge benefits that the Land of Oak & Iron Landscape Partnership has brought to the Derwent Valley area, along with new awareness of our proud history, improved wetlands, woodlands and pathways, interpretation, education, traditional skills, orienteering, music, drama and publishing.

The Land of Oak & Iron Trust is a new charitable organisation of volunteers from all over the valley working together to engage young people, improve our environment and breathing new life into the history and heritage of the area for future generations to enjoy.

The Trust already has major achievements under their belt- an ambitious mapping project; heritage materials and activities for schools; a woodland volunteer group working with Durham Wildlife Trust and they have published three books too!

Members of the Trust will be at the Heritage Centre on Saturday 3rd October, 10am - 1pm.  There will also be a guided walk where you can find out about Crowley's Ironworks and the industrial heritage of the area.
Booking essential - click here for tickets.

Whatever your area of interest, please come along to say hello and find out more about the work of the Trust, they would love to hear your ideas and maybe even persuade you to join them (when it's safe to do so).  

You can also purchase some of the books they've published about the fascinating heritage of the Derwent Valley: Men of Iron; Tales of Derwentdale and Thread of Iron.
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