I’m going to divide up our marvellous residential felting experience in Portugal into several blog posts, there’s a lot to report and many photos to download from my camera so I’ll try to select some descriptive ones to post here as well as give you all a flavour of the atmosphere during the week. Of course I don’t have anything like enough pictures to share either, when I’m teaching I find it can be quite difficult to snap and think at the same time so do check out Heather, Terriea, Karin and Estela on facebook and leave some comments for them if you see any pictures that you like! Heather and Terriea also write two of my all time favourite blogs, both of them have wonderful pictures of our week together and will be putting more up over the next few days!!!
I landed in Portugal late on Friday evening and Karin collected me from the airport so that I would have time to settle in and check out the organisational side of things before the participants started arriving from lunch time on Saturday. My personal Quinta (small granite farmhouse) was gorgeous, near enough to walk to the main house in 5 minutes but private enough to relax and spend time unwinding and recharging if I needed to. Karin and Eelco have been living at Dominio Vale do Mondego for almost 6 years now and their vision of an artistic retreat within a functioning bio-dynamic farm meant that this was the perfect place to have a wonderfully relaxing but productive felting holiday. I was so excited that great friend Heather would be arriving from the US and online friend Terriea was coming from Hong Kong, both of them were also previously online friends so I’m sure you can imagine our excitement when we all were together in reality as opposed to virtually!!! On Saturday we also had (in order of their arrival!) Annemarie from The Netherlands and Sandy from Spain (originally from the UK), Eelco’s sister Nienke and her friend Carla from The Netherlands arrived on Sunday as did Estela from Portugal. At various times during the course of the week-long extravaganza Karin and Noori from The Netherlands, Kelly (from the UK but now living up the road!) and Emma from Portugal (the local school principal) also participated so it really was a truly international experience!
Karin and Eelco had organised wonderful local woman and chef Fernanda to cater for us at lunch and dinner each evening ably helped by Anna and Eelco when necessary, Eelco also took charge of decorating the table each mealtime and this was definitely an artistic pursuit in itself! The food was wonderful and the light and delightful organic Vinho Verdhe we drank every day proved the perfect accompaniment to any dish!!! After breakfast on Sunday morning Eelco took the participants who had already arrived out for a walk around the farm, his flock of Bordeleira sheep are beautiful, large calm and with wonderful twisted horns. I loved hearing the tinkling of the bells as they moved around the pasture during the day, they come inside every night as predators such as wolves are a possibility in the area (although definitely not common). I’m going to leave you now with a picture of the sheep, tomorrow I’ll continue writing more about our adventures and start blogging about how we found their wool to felt!