Creative People Networking Group

Creative people networking group at slamseys, essex

I’ve really got into the Back to School spirit this September and have launched lots of new classes, workshops and courses at Slamseys. Although it’s today that feels like the first day of term as it’s the week that the yoga and pilates classes start up again, our new term of events is already under way.

Last Thursday was the launch of the brand new Creative People Networking Group that I recently set up. I know that there are lots of creative people in the local area, but I just didn’t know where to find them, so I thought, well I’ll make them come to me – and they did!

We had ten people arrive at the barn for our first meeting, bringing a really interesting mix of skills, interests and knowledge with them. There was someone who does willow weaving, someone who makes personalised bunting (I know her as Aunt Josephine), greetings cards and stationery creators, budding photographers, artists, writers, cake decorators and more!

It’s really exciting for me to speak to these local creative types and for us to come up with new ideas for how we can work together in the future – already in the pipeline are some new workshops for the barn and collaborations for next year’s art trail which is all about food & kitchens.

Find out more about our Creative People Networking Group meetings.

I’m really excited for the rest of my Back to School workshops and courses this week – next up is our free art group which starts on Thursday and then on Friday the first of our new five week short courses kicks off – I can’t wait!


A Spring Walk

It’s a wonderful time to wander along the public footpaths in this glorious spring weather with blossom in the hedges and wildflowers in the verges. Let’s take a walk together.

From the Great Notley village centre, walk along Cuckoo Way, cross the by-pass using the Pegasus crossing at Cuckoo Way and follow the path into the Country Park, keeping the lakes on your right. When the path divides, take the left hand fork and keep walking with the fields on your left and the lake on your right.

Great Notley Country Park

Halfway along the second lake, near the dog poo bin, turn left through the gap in the hedge and into open fields.

Bridleway in The Ley

You are now on the public bridleway in the field called The Ley, which this year is cropped with wheat that will be harvested in the summer.

The Track

Continue along the path, with the hedge on your left and when you reach the electricity poles at the end of the path, take the left hand track.

Number 2

As you walk along this track you may spot a willow circle hidden in the pollarded willow tree and a tiny front door in a tree trunk known as No 2, The Track.

Keep on the track as it crosses diagonally right into the next field. In spring time, from early March, the banks of the ditch on your left are filled with primroses, paigles and violets.


Follow the track as it turns right by the set of gates and keep going to the end of the field and into the next one.

chelmsford city racecourse

Keep on the grassy track as it turns left and passes behind the pair of cottages to emerge on Blackley Lane with the Chelmsford City Racecourse straight ahead.

Blackley Lane

Turn left along Blackley Lane, where the steep banks are filled with cowslips in the spring, under the bridge and on to London Road. Cross the London Road carefully, turn left and walk along the pavement past Dagnets Lane and Notley Green roundabout. Stay on the pavement until you’ve passed the mini-roundabout and then cross to enter Great Notley Approach and follow the footway back to the village centre.

This walk is about 2 ½ miles and will take about an hour to complete. Remember to wear sensible shoes as the paths are not paved and can get muddy. This walk is not suitable for pushchairs.

This first appeared as A Spring Walk around Slamseys Farm in The Great Notley Times.

Mother’s Day Treats

Happy Mother’s Day, Slamseys Art, Braintree

Next weekend is one of the most important weekends for many of our friends here at Slamseys – it’s Mother’s Day!  Here’s my top five treats to enjoy together.


Garnetts Farmer’s Market, Barnston

Get an early start and head off to Great Garnetts monthly Farmer’s Market at Barnston.  You can pick up a lovely joint of meat for lunch on Sunday as well as homemade breads, preserves, sweet treats and more.  There’s always a lot to see and the markets are always popular.


Chocolate Truffle Workshop at Slamseys Art, Great Notley

Next up, it’s time to get chocolatey! I love it when Hilary from Choctails comes to Slamseys – the smell of melting chocolate fills the whole of the barn – and I always manage to sneak away a few squares of chocolates to indulge in.  This is the perfect workshop for you and your mum to enjoy together, as you taste, temper, roll, dip and decorate chocolate truffles – but make sure you book your places online as this workshop is normally a sell out.

Chocolate Truffle Making at Slamseys Art, Braintree, Credit Ruth Wheaton


Buy a Bouquet, Springfield Florist, Chelmsford

In the afternoon head over to Springfield Florist and choose one of their beautiful bouquets or design your own from their wide range of flowers.

Hand Tied Bouquet, flower arranging for Mother's Day, Slamseys Art, Essex


Enjoy a country walk

Make sure you grab a lie in on Sunday morning before taking a leisurely walk around the countryside.  There are lots of brilliant public footpaths, cycle trails and bridleways around us – my favourite is the John Ray Walk.


Homemade Sunday Lunch

Finally it’s time for the most important meal of the week – the Sunday Roast!  The key to a great roast is good quality, locally grown and reared products.  Grab some seasonal vegetables like leeks, artichokes and swede, maybe do something special with the roast potatoes, like add a clove of garlic or a sprig of rosemary.  And while it’s all cooking away, sit back and enjoy a glass of English sparkling wine with a good glug of Slamseys Raspberry Gin.

Slamseys Raspberry Gin, Essex


The perfect weekend!


Taking Tea … With Elle

Over the next few months I want to give you some insight into who the tutors and artists at Slamseys are as creatives, craftspeople and artists – and what better way than over a cup of tea!

Elle Kaye is our wonderful taxidermy tutor here at Slamseys Art.  She ran the first taxidermy mouse workshop back in June and since then we’ve had lots of people book their places on our other taxidermy workshops – coming up we have a Butterfly Preservation class on the 28 March, Wild Rabbits on the 11-12 April, Corvid Birds on the 25-26 April, Squirrels on the 20-21 June and the ever popular Rodent classes on Saturday 7 March and 6 June.

Elle Kaye, taxidermy tutor at Slamseys Art

Taxidermy Mouse class at Slamseys, Essex, Phot Credit Alexandra C Murphy
Photo Credit Alexandra C. Murphy

So here’s a little insight into the life of a professional taxidermist…

I asked Elle, What was it that got you into taxidermy in the first place?

I wanted to study veterinary science, but with no animal biology on our syllabus at school that was certainly suppressed. I had a subscription to animal hospital, spent weekends at petting farms, and would spend hours reading through books about animal science and anatomy at my local library instead of doing my actual work. I suppose it grew out of this interest in the educational side, and a fondness for conservation.

Talk us through an average work day…

Get up and have a coffee, straight to the workshop. I usually have several projects on the go because skins need to tan, pickle or dry, before you can move them on to the next stage which means each piece is staggered around one another.

What’s the most ambitious project you’ve worked on so far?

I’ve done a few phenomenal specimens; a black grizzly bear, several zebra heads, a lioness… I’m very lucky.

Is there a special project on your ‘to do’ list?

Big cats are my favourite animals, and although I have been fortunate to work on a lioness, a black panther would be pretty special. I also have an unheaIthy obsession with giraffes, and adopted one from London Zoo when I was seven. I used to collect giraffe stickers, postcards and pin badges (this seemed normal when I was young). A giraffe would certainly feel like an achievement.

What’s your favourite tool that you use in your work?


And finally, how do you take your tea?

Very strong! A drop of milk is an overstatement.

Well now I know how to get the cuppa right at the next workshop!  Elle will be joining us at Slamseys very regularly over the next few months to pass on her skills to budding taxidermists in our workshops, and I’m especially excited for a project we have planned in June.  Our Art Month will be taking place between 4th – 27th June and will feature some of Elle’s taxidermy specimens in our ‘AFTERLIFE‘ exhibition.

Taxidermy mouse class at Slamseys, Essex,

Taxidermy Mouse class at Slamseys, Essex, Phot Credit Alexandra C Murphy
Photo Credit Alexandra C. Murphy
Taxidermy Mouse at Slamseys, Essex, Photo Credit Alexandra C. Murphy
Photo Credit Alexandra C. Murphy

For more information and to book your place on one of our workshops, visit our website.  You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter for the latest details about Elle’s exhibition, or follow what she gets up to Instagram.