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24 - 25th June 2023

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Another magical weekend selling POLBEN's Pigment at Wealden Literary Festival - now my third year being a part of it. I look forward to this event every year as it always makes me feel happy inside. Especially when I see so many other people interested in the same earthy things I am!

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I met some fab makers this year...

One of them being glass artist Liza Townsend, who I am desperate to do a glass course with.

The second being Bella who has created Candle Wise, selling hand-crafted and stunningly-scented candles, melts and diffusers.

My madder pigment - extracted from the root of the madder plant

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Wealden Literary Festival is held at Boldshaves, a beautiful garden you can visit annually in Kent. It's name has a bewitching meaning. 

A 'shave' is a Kent/East Sussex term referring to a windbreak of trees adjoining pastureland. 

In the 18th century a Yorkshireman named Bold cleared a hillside of trees, in the area you now stand, for his sheep.

Hence 'Bold's shaves' became ‘Boldshaves’.



A beautiful gift from a gardener visiting the festival from Canada!


I decided to join Marian Boswall's talk on sustainable gardening, which I learnt lots from!

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Mfavourite tip was the idea of foraging hedges, plus they're super easy to 
incorporate into your existing hedge. You simply add berries, etc. 

Gloire de Sablon pincurrants

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that can grow through the hedge. Also foraging hedges mean even if you don't get to the fruit before it dies, the birds will, meaning nothing is wasted, unlike fruit which grows in cages.

Another tip from Marian... plant a conifer north facing, as it will provide shade and cool your house in the summer, and in the winter it will shed its leave, allowing the sun to heat your house! Amazing!

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A lil book I made on a workshop with Hope Fitzgerald!

One of the inks I had on display at the festival. Oak Gall Ink in a Robert Castagnon glass whisky bottle.

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There are a great many authors who hold talks and discussions at WLF. Whenever we (dad, mum and I) attend a talk, we tend to buy the book afterwards. Here is this years collection...

For dad's philosophical, yet poetic mind

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For mine and mum's earthy, 

horticultural interests...


the next day, rolling them between finger 
and thumb, smoothing the shafts so they lay
as flat as fish scales.  In the morning,
when the light was at its sharpest, Joseph lit


the colour with water  and gum, stirring in
honey so the Prussian blues and milky greens,
the scarlets and viridians, could breathe across
the hatched threads of the canvas. And while 


his father knotted and threaded the hair
into silken caps, weaving it into clusters
of curls,  the boy split shafts of light until
they shimmered on the tip of his brush. 


And for a moment, the father looked up
from his work and was scared by the boy
who could paint God’s light across the water, 
the air’s joy at being empty handed. 


See you next year Wealden Literary Festival!

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Sharing my love for all things pigment on the Pigment Making Workshop I run at the festival, and one of my lovely students told me of this poem, and I love it...

Poet Laura Scott was inspired by J.M.W. Turner’s Norham Castle, Sunrise



His father saw it before anyone else,
the boy could paint light, could take the sky
into the bristles of his brush and lay it flat 
like ribbon around a haberdasher’s card.  


He could take the curl of cloud, the line
of sea, and drop them on to canvas
pinned and waiting for him like a spider’s
web on a window pane.  He could make


colours his father had never seen appear
in white china bowls,  grinding red lead
and smalt, madder and green slate while his
father washed bundles of hair ready for


couple more books I saw via friends/creatives, which I have now ordered, cause they look fab...

I am using Bionic Reading - traditionally used by neurodivergent folk, or more specifically people with ADHD, and those with reading difficulties - created by Swiss typographic designer Renato Casutt. It bolds a small number of letters at the beginning of a word allowing your memory to fill in the rest, creating a more visually stimulating font.

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