About Native Hands
2021 courses are now open for bookings, and you’ll find them on the courses calendar page
As Native Hands, I offer courses in Wild Pottery, Wild Basketry, Bushcraft and Mindfulness in Nature. ‘Wild’ because we forage our crafting materials from the land and hedgerows, and because courses are held in the woods (in Sussex, near Lewes).
These courses have evolved out of a love of making things in the natural world using natural materials, alongside a deep interest in ancient crafts and technologies. Connecting with the living world, with ancestral knowledge and keeping traditional skills alive, are core aspects of Native Hands.
It’s easy to take the objects and resources we use in our daily lives for granted, so it’s really valuable to experience the whole cycle of production: harvesting / gathering materials in a sustainable way, processing them and finally creating a useful and beautiful object. It’s an empowering opportunity to learn and develop practical, life-long skills.
Inspired and informed by traditional wisdom and knowledge in ways of interacting with the natural world and with natural materials, we harvest what we need with respect and sensitivity.
I aim to offer you a satisfying learning experience as well as an enjoyable time away from it all, in beautiful, peaceful woodland
Connecting with the natural world can deeply nourish and rejuvenate us. Taking time out of our daily lives to be creative in the woods round a fire, with birdsong, wild plants, creatures, dappled sunlight and like-minded people, we can find a sense of space and connection…to ourselves, to each other, and to the web of life itself.
‘Nature deficit disorder’ is widely recognised as a serious issue in many peoples’ lives, and the importance and benefits of working creatively with our hands is well-documented.
These issues, along with a deep concern for sustainability, are at the heart of Native Hands.
Just fabulous. Fun, creative, incredibly informative (Ruby’s hugely inspiring teaching) and in a place of such simple beauty. Way beyond all hopes, a treat of an experience that I shall never forget – shared with lovely people. Rebecca, Brighton
“If you are among the tens of millions of people who spend most of their days indoors, embedded in the ‘man-made’ world, it’s to be expected that your concept of life will be largely human-centered.
When you begin weaving more of nature into your everyday existence, however, your sense of life may open up to encompass the much richer, more complex, more communal and more timeless universe that you’re actually part of.”
C. Cook, ‘Awakening to Nature’
Loved both the Bark Containers course and the Wild Cordage one. Ruby makes ancient techniques simple and achievable, and imparted a vast amount of knowledge in bite-sized chunks. Totally inspired and can’t wait to make more! Matthew & Julie Bruton-Seal, Norfolk (authors of ‘Hedgerow Medicine’)
🌿 I co-founded Native Hands in 2010 as a small educational collective of friends who share a love of the living world, of making with natural materials, and respect for ancestral knowledge. As friends we still meet, share ideas, and inspire each other.
I also offer training and courses for heritage and cultural organisations. I’ve recently worked with: