A mosaic workshop aboard the crafty snail, aka Crafts Afloat

It became a little complex, our visit to Hebden Bridge, without intention.

My daughters and I had tried to find a ‘free’ weekend to get together in Brighton, and when we booked the first weekend of July I had no idea we’d be in Hebden Bridge at the same time and I’d miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of witnessing the Tour de France speeding by!

Then we received a few emails from the amazingly organised Dianna Monahan, our IWA contact there, outlining some of the other events around the boat gathering time.

Initially excited by the prospect of being a part of the mosaic workshop below …

Melanie and Winston are looking for 4-5 boaters to take part in the mural making workshop.  Participants will make a mosaic piece of artwork that they can take home, in the hope that the artwork will travel around the canal network with them.  The workshop will take place on Thursday 3rd July from 11am – 4pm with a break for lunch.  During the workshop we will discuss the gathered words, design the artwork, learn how to score and cut glass, snip mosaic tiles and create the finished mosaic pieces!  The pieces will be grouted the following day.

… I wasn’t sure until I worked out train times whether I could. Fortunately the stars aligned and there was still a place remaining when I called the adorable Melanie from Crafts Afloat to express my interest. It meant taking out a whole day from exploring the area, but it was definitely worthwhile.


The Crafty Snail Studio













Winston uses my target poetry words as an example on his spinning plate

Winston Plowes is a local poet, and he came along for the first half hour and shared his vision of gaining wondrous words about living on the canals and rivers of England and Wales by involving us in ‘target poetry’.

“…an award winning poet resident on the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale. Amongst other things, his work is inspired by his interaction with the local landscape, by his fourteen-year-old daughter and the darker realities often found in the deserted corners of life.”

We each had a piece of blank paper which we were told to imagine as our ‘target’, with our hands delivering arrows to it. Then we drew a circle in the centre of the page, closed our eyes, and gave some thought to words and images we associate with our watery lifestyle. He hoped we’d find around 20 words, and also encouraged us to draw a few pictures. Turning the page around meant words would be jumbled, and may even be on top of each other.

That was fine – no such thing as mistakes in this exercise!


Winston, Patricia and Nick from NB Bisous, and Mel from Crafts Afloat

Once we’d exhausted our word ‘limit’, we could take a look at our inventions. You’ll see mine below – quite a mess I’m sure you’ll agree! ‘Freedom‘ was the core of my page.

Winston then did an off-the-cuff talk about the words we’d written, and how they could be woven into a story of our lives, and Melanie cleverly showed us how to incorporate these into a glass and tile mosaic we could take away with us and treasure.



Some of Melanie’s gorgeous glass fusion jewellery


Explaining some of the nuances of mosaicing – her Hebden Bridge mosaic is on the wall


My crafting area – words at the top of the page, designing a pattern for the mosaic is at the bottom, then the mosaic plate with words onto the traced design on the right


Here’s one Melanie finished earlier ..


Watching it unfold into something beautiful – how many words and pictures can you recognise?


My chosen words for the mosaic included – Freedom, a moving watery life, stillness too, nature, real people and real places, Parallel universe


Being adventurous and sticking it all down – I had a train to catch straight after the workshop!


My mosaic – the canal at the bottom, sunshine and nature in the top corners, freedom in the heart radiating light and warmth – the words stood out more once the glue was dry

Though I managed to squeeze the workshop in before I left for my lovely weekend in Brighton, it meant I missed putting the finishing touches in. Thankfully Melanie grouted my mosaic the following day – and delivered it to Barry.

Barry holds my finished mosaic proudly - thanks for the photo Mel!

Barry holds my finished mosaic proudly – thanks for the photo Mel!

We’ve yet to find the perfect spot for my work of art, but it’ll definitely hold pride of place somewhere on board Areandare soon.


Hebden Bridge Railway Station

2 thoughts on “A mosaic workshop aboard the crafty snail, aka Crafts Afloat

  1. Hello there Sandra and Barry, I’ve just been checking out your fabulous blog! xx I’ve posted a link on my Crafts Afloat page. I hope all is well for you both. Love Melanie and The Crafty Snail xxx

    • Hi Mel, thanks for that lovely feedback 😉
      And a link on your page – fantastic, thank you so much.
      We’re mostly good, love seeing your Facebook posts and children’s activities. Always looks like such fun. Hope business is booming for you. x

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