Sunday 19 December 2010

A Traditional English Woodturner

Today's blog entry is an opportunity for me to introduce you to some beautiful household items crafted in South Devon from British trees.

Mark Weston-Lewis took over Woodturners Cottage in 2006 and currently produces in excess of 1000 handcrafted woodturnings each year in addition to a number of commissioned sculptures in timber or stone for outdoor spaces. Woodturners Cottage and its workshop has been a woodturnery and fine furniture establishment since the 1930's. Mark's dedication and skill are keeping this tradition alive and very well with his blend of traditional and contemporary designs lovingly finished off to a very high standard. 

 He sells most of his work in galleries throughout Devon and Cornwall plus a number of craft fairs in South West England. It was through Greenwich Market that we had the pleasure of meeting Mark and seeing his work. He can be found at the market at least a couple of weekends a month and hopefully more often in the future. The logistics of being based in South Devon and exhibiting his work in person at Greenwich Market is a balancing act, especially when he has production to slot into his busy schedule.

All timbers used are from sustainable sources and 98% are native British trees felled in the Dartmoor and South Devon area. For every 20 pieces made, a young tree is planted.

Finishes applied are either beeswax and vegetable oil which can be wiped clean and occasionally revived with a fresh coating of vegetable oil or six coats of finishing oil which dries to a hard surface that can be wiped clean. Both are food safe. A few decorative pieces are just beeswaxed and polished.

Commissions for woodturning projects or garden sculptures in timber or stone are welcomed. If you wish to view a fine selection of Mark's work and meet the artist in person, then a trip to Greenwich Market should be on your list of things to do. Due to the amount of time required for production, Mark can't guarantee to be exhibiting in Greenwich every weekend. Please feel free to contact Mark about his work or dates exhibiting on the following phone number.

Tel : 01548 830405
Mobile : 0779 2803299

Monday 13 December 2010

Xmas At Greenwich Craft Market

If you haven't been down to Greenwich Craft Market recently, It may be worth the effort to brave the cold weather and pop down. The Christmas lights are up and spiced mulled wine available.

Apart from Sorazora, you will find so many stalls selling handcrafted products ranging from woodcraft to candles and plant pot hangers. The Artists corner can be found each weekend and two artists deserving a special mention are Charles Borrell and John Lynch, who both provide all that one could want in a landscape.

It is getting cold out, but at least Greenwich market's roof offers protection from our typically British weather. I would recommend coming on an empty stomach as there is a wide selection of international cuisine waiting for you to discover. This coming weekend will be the last shopping weekend before Christmas and your last chance to pick up some truly individual gift items.

Sorazora will definitely be displaying our products over the weekend and hope to be present on Thursday and Friday also, weather permitting, of course! I would like to use this blog as an opportunity to say a big hello and thank you to a customer named Chiara, pictured below, and we wish her a safe trip back to Italy for Christmas. We look forward to meeting again in the new year.

Urban Day Retreat 11 December 2010

An invitation to display our products at a yoga studio's open day was a first for Sorazora, and a event that we greatly enjoyed.

Thanks to the generosity of the organisers of The Radiant Hand, we were not only privileged to meet many good people, but also observe three specialists of different styles and practices.
Although we didn't participate in the classes themselves, we are now starting to understand the benefits and have a little more understanding of yoga, tai-chi and the healing arts.
The open day was held in Clapham and open for both their students and new-comers.

Once again, I would like to thank all the staff at The Radiant Hand for their hospitality and to all the participants who came to our stall and showed interest in organic natural fibres and natural dyes. (The home made dhal lunch served at the UDR was absolutely delicious and I hear the lasagne and quiche were great too!) 

If you are interested in learning about yoga or tai-chi, or perhaps wish to expand deeper your experiences in these fields, I would recommend you to have a look at their website for a lot more information.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Urban Day Retreat

This coming Saturday (11th December) Sorazora will be exhibiting a small selection of our products at an event called Urban Day Retreat to be held in Clapham, London.
The Urban Day Retreat is a holistic day retreat created and organised by The Radiant Hand, which takes place several times a year at different venues in London.

Its aims are to take all who come, on a journey of relaxation, creativity and inspiration. The UDR showcases different instructors and different styles of healing arts from yoga, tai-chi and chi-gong, giving you a glimpse of many aspects of spirituality, healing and other tools of empowerment for you to explore.

The Urban Day Retreat is a day for you to forget about the stress and worries from the daily grind and helps you to focus, relax and unwind.

The UDR offers a variety of workshops from the high calibre teachers that we ask to come and teach on the day, who help us to explore our yoga, tai-chi, chi-gong, healing and spirituality deeper, helping all students to create deeper insights and healing for themselves.

We know that many people are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of ancient philosophies and practices. One of the aims at The Radiant Hand is to create an awareness, of some of the ancient arts and knowledge, and what benefits (mental, physical and/or spiritual) using or practising them can achieve for oneself.

The UDR is open to everyone, regardless of your experience. We have had complete novices, who have never practised yoga or any of the healing arts, come to the retreat and after the day, have been inspired to find a practice for themselves. It's a wonderful day of healing for everyone!

To book your place or simply to find out more about the UDR, please call 020 8682 5186 or email

Wednesday 1 December 2010

John Lynch's Landscapes

From all the artists exhibiting their work at Greenwich Market, there are two particular artists whose work really impresses me. Charles Borrell, whose work was featured in a blog dated Aug 3rd, and John Lynch.

I wish to use this blog entry to introduce you to John's work. The first piece of his work that I ever saw was a very atmospheric landscape. The style was very loose and appeared to be made up of a combination of calculated and swift brush strokes, resulting in a British countryside view over fields, copses and fences. Naturally, that painting has long been sold and no doubt found itself a worthy wallspace within a private collection. I didn't, at that time, have the opportunity to ask John about the location of the painting's scene, but in my mind it symbolised the Great British countryside.

All of the paintings that I have seen of Johns have a common theme of what I can only best describe as a relationship between that which lies above and below the horizon. English weather is moody at best and it is this fact which I find captured so perfectly.

John throws himself at not only British landscapes, but also London cityscapes and seascapes featuring stranded boats on mudflats at lowtide. These are all scenes that I have grown up amongst and are for me distinctly English. I think it is fair to say that the reality of these scapes are taken for granted, but when confronted with a large acrylic on canvas, John's work brings out not only my appreciation of his skill, but also my new found appreciation of England's horizons. If I were ever to set up home abroad, I truly believe one of John's paintings would have to come too. A way of taking a piece of England with me.

A sample of John's work is contained within his webpage, also through which he can be contacted. If you are interested in his work, I can recommend nothing better than getting down to Greenwich Market on a weekend and viewing the paintings first hand, this would also give you the pleasure of meeting the artist in person. To view his webpage, please click here!