My work has a tendency to reflect the colours and textures of the Lake District’s landscape, but recently I was asked to take this one step further and create a pair of commemorative, fern-textured glasses that were as much as part of the Lake District, and Hawkshead in particular, as they could be. The occasion? The 20th anniversary of Hawkshead Relish, a local company which is an incredibly well established (and well loved!) part of the local area. Founded 20 years ago during the foot & mouth epidemic, Hawkshead Relish has gone from strength to strength ever since, all the while remaining truly loyal to its local roots.
To celebrate, a party was planned (with a very special guest – Prince Charles himself! More on that in my next post). The glasses were to be presented to Prince Charles as part of a commemorative gift which also included plenty of Hawkshead Relish produce, all made by hand in their small factory on the shores of Esthwaite water (and just a stone’s throw away from my own home and studio!).
With Hawkshead Relish having such a strong local background, the aim was to create a pair of glasses which reflected this connection to their Hawkshead location. The ferns used to texture the glasses came from the path running alongside the beck by our home, and from the field wall beside it. The glasses, with their shifting blue-green stems, therefore have a direct link both to local plants and to the colours we have around us – blue water, green ferns and moss.
Anton, the engraver at Cumbria Crystal in Ulverston, very patiently helped me figure out how to engrave the feet of each glass (‘Hawkshead Fern 2019’) and did an excellent job of completing the process with their sandblaster. I can sandblast, but had no experience of the fine detail needed, so I found this fascinating to watch! Keith Shorrock, a furniture maker in Cartmel, made the cherrywood presentation box – it’s a beautiful shaker-style box and apparently the largest he has made to date!
The glasses fit inside the box on pads of Herdwick tweed – a nod to this iconic Lakeland breed of sheep which is traditionally seen in the hills and valleys of the Lake District, and is native to the area.
The finished piece is a truly Cumbrian creation, made in collaboration with some fantastic local craftsmen; I’m so happy with it, and hope the recipients are too.