The Greatest Outdoors

Author: ElementsFGS Page 2 of 8

Half price sessions at Bangor

To boost our numbers at the Quarries, we have decided that if two people come along for a session in February, it will be at half price – that’s £15 for two children – that is pretty cool!

In Elements, we believe in a complete respect for life. This also includes the life of animals which sustain us. Part of this respect is learning to appreciate how we prepare food – fish does not come frozen and battered.

Matthew brought a fish he caught and the children were able to have a look at the fish and watch it being prepared.

After that we cooked the fish and enjoyed the fresh subtle taste!

This was done as part of our past Forest School session at the Quarries. It was certainly a November evening not to be forgotten!

To find out more about our sessions here, contact us on or text/WhatsApp/phone us on 07540075991. You can also fill in this form to join our Quarries Sessions. They are every Tuesday from 3.30 – 5.30 pm.

The half price does not apply to the half term session on 15 Feb. Many thanks

Forest School begins!

As the years pass, and despite the pandemic, Elements has seen more 100 children take part in our Forest School sessions and other activities.

Our mission is to enable children to experience and get to know the world around them, and in our many activities to gain confidence, develop their sense of confidence and sensory experiences, as well as enjoy all of the seasons around them.

At the Holywood Steiner School, we are able to cook outdoors, explore the beautiful forest they have and put on a series of educational and fun activities.

Children are able to play on their own or join in activities. It makes for a truly rich and in depth outdoor experience.

Our classes in Holywood are now full and bookings will reopen in the Summer term.

New exciting year!

Check out what we have on this year!

Forest School

Holywood Steiner School

Forest School has started again. We are now full for the Holywood Steiner School! We have our full quota and class is closed!

The Quarries, Bangor

Arrow making

We are starting up again at The Quarries in Bangor. Located at 402 Gransha Road it is a beautiful traditional Ulster farm which has been sensitively managed by Joan Woods and Tina Kersting.

It is teeming with wildlife and is blessed with two forests – one more recently planted native woodland and a 200 year old forest which surrounds the Quarry.

Surveying frogs

We have looked for frogs, found a fallen buzzard, collected tinder from birch and found millions of mushrooms. Tales were told by the fires in winter and more discoveries will be made over the coming spring and summer.

If you are interested in joining, sessions are held on Tuesdays, from 3.30 – 5.30 pm. Each session costs £15.

Get in touch by filling in this form or contacting us at 07540075991. For the month of February we are offering half price for one session two or more new sign ups!

Arts and Crafts Sessions

Leaf made by first timer attending our copper smithing class. Two more are coming up in Feb and March.
No experience necessary

We are delighted to continue to offer our wonderful craft sessions this year.

Introducing our first adult course this year at the Holywood Steiner School

From Fleece to Fabric: The Hidden Magic of Wool and Coppersmithing with Lake and Oak will be running at the Holywood Steiner School.

Fleece to Fabric: 5, 12 and 19 Feb

Coppersmithing: 19 and 26 Mar

For both activities start at age 12+ years. Click onto the links to find out more about each course.

Here are some highlights.

Fleece to Fabric

In the first lesson you will learn how to wash raw wool
In lesson 2, we card and create yarn!

These pictures do not do the sessions justice. What takes place is nothing short of a review of the entirety of our development as human beings and the important wool and other fibres have played in our lives. From the story of Theseus and the Minotaur to the Wool Guilds of Florence to the songs of the women of the Shetlands, the course is a tour de force in Emma’s skill as a textile creative.

If you are interested in this course click on this link for a full description and to book.


Like wool, our relationship with copper is also ancient. A soft metal that can be worked easily it is also warm, bright and gorgeous. Spend the day creating something with will literally last forever.

If you are interested in this course click on this link for a full description and to book.

Halloween Celebrations with Elements

Sign up for the following activities:

Fabulous Fungi Drawing with Gabriel Knight

Halloween Forest School

We will be making bread, telling stories, wandering through the wood and learning about the beautiful time of the year.

Costume Making with Emma Foley

Pass between worlds

The shadows are getting longer and deeper. The new cycle is ready to begin. How do you wish to step out of the past and into the next year? Or, in other words…

It’s Halloween, what are you going as?

On October 31st, come into the dusk of Samhain in this rewarding workshop using natural traditional materials and methods to make your choice of a beautiful mask, wreath, or charm. 

Your safety may depend on it!

Our handwork on the day will be accompanied by a constructive, and exciting exploration of ideas relating to costume, disguise, tradition, shadow-self, story, spirit-appeasement, folk art, and a look at the cultural balance between the profane and the sacred.

You will leave prepared for whatever comes at you on Halloween night. 

Well, hopefully…..

Workshop from 1pm to 4pm.

There will be a opportunity to relax post workshop for 30 to 40 minutes around the fire after we finish work.

There will be a short break from 2:20 to 2:40. Seasonal refreshments will be provided. 

All required tools and materials will be provided for you but please feel free to bring along anything you would like to use.

[Provided: Mixed fabrics, hessian, wool, leather, felt, crystal, ribbon, fruitwoods, shells, nuts, husks, wire, twine, dried herbs and flowers]

Please notify me of any allergies before the event. 

Looking forward to welcoming you.

Dragons and Leaves: Our first Copper Smithing session

All pictures by Caron Ang

Our first copper smithing session was a blast, no pun intended. Let the pictures speak for themselves…

A very pleasing final result indeed for a first time copper smith
Setting up the session was a serious business… the equipment took over two months to put together
Matthew made anvils from scratch – well from logs and steel plates!!! That took him two weeks!!!
The tools of the trade – hammers, chisels and other implements of medieval torture
It was a full house – of mostly blokes… hammering and smithing away

The nice thing about all of our activities is that you leave feeling that you have accomplished something you thought that you could never do.

Here is the man himself showing how it is done
A graceful willow leaf!
Copper working was a highly valued skill in the Bronze Age
Some other lovely finished pieces
Delicate rings were made by the only female paticipant!
A beautiful oak leaf

If you would like to sign up for this coming Saturday – 2 October fill in this form! Or email Come along and surprise yourself!

A great start to the year!

Elements is one year old! that anniversary passed by pretty much unnoticed because we have been so busy… here is what we have been up to then in Insta images…

This session is full!!!
Our first Forest School

We have just restarted this. To book go to this form! Or email

Finally the BEST THING EVER!!! Our Craft Programme!!!

Go to these various pages to book.

Copper Smithing

Fabulous Fungi

Fleece to Fabric

MyNI website presence!

This summer we ran a very satisfying Forest School summer scheme and had loads and loads of great feedback. Some of it was so good that it made it to the MyNI website. Here is the link.


Award for Matthew!

We could not be more thrilled that Matthew is working with us to help bring the vision of accessibility to Arts and Crafts in the outdoors to a wider audience. For only £60 you can create your own beautiful item with young artist Matthew Walton. Fill in this form to reserve your space.

The Autumn Programme

We are all looking forward to the autumn programme. Inspired by our success with Gabriel’s drawing classes and a request to have more, we have put together an all singing all dancing programme which has something for everyone… from metalwork to working with wool to more drawing… and of course weekly forest school we will have something for everyone!

Thank you to Iona Shop in Holywood and Eden Pottery for supporting us. And of course all the wonderful people whom we have worked with… and will be working with in the future. You make everything possible.

So here it goes!!!

Copper Smithing: 25 Sept, 2 October

Learn how to work copper with our new Forest School teacher Matthew Walton. Matthew graduated from the Art College recently and brings his many skills to our party! Copper smithing is only one of them. During this session learn to beat and fold copper. From a copper pipe Matthew will take you through the process of creating your own piece of art or jewelery.

Time: 10 am – 4 pm

Venue: The Quarries

Cost: £60

All material and equipment provided.

Book here

Fungi Drawings with Gabriel Knight

As the autumn gets underway fungi start to read their little heads. These most mysterious members of the botanical world have fascinated us for millennia. The original superfood they have been used by humans to have deeper insight into their lives. Have deeper insight into them with Gabriel. Gabriel’s course was so popular the last time that it was sold out at the end. Make sure you book early! Use this form to book.

Dates:9, 16, 23, 30 October
Time:10 am – 12 pm
Age range:12 +
Cost:£20 per person per session or £70 for 4 week black booking in advance

Fleece to Fabric: The Hidden Magic of Handcrafting Wool

Hand spinning

Book here for this course.

Emma has written a short introduction about herself!

Hello, I’m Emma and it is my pleasure and my privilege to welcome you to this course.

Textiles, Costume and Folklore are the passions I carry throughout my professional life and these courses are an incredible opportunity
to share that passion with you. It is my great hope that you will feel and embrace the tactile power of the materials under your fingers and the transformative power of creation in your minds and hearts. I am here to facilitate this for you with over 25 years of experience, expertise and enthusiasm. Above all else, ‘Making’ is a way to connect to yourself and to the world around you. Creativity is a process and a practice which just cannot be overrated.

My experience as a teacher over the years ranges from Kindergarten handwork classes and soft crafts through to extensive felting and fibre
workshops, interiors and dressmaking classes and the pursuit of my own practice as a writer and fibre artist.

The only warning I issue is that working like this is addictive, get ready to be seduced by the integrated worlds of artisan craft and story!

Tapestry weaving

Here is an outline of her course:

Welcome to this creative, productive, hands-on exploration of the culture, history and evolution of wool textiles.

This workshop celebrates wool and its intrinsic connection to oral traditions, cottage industry and industrial processes.
It includes insight into the materials used and a discussion of the folklore and rich traditions of textiles in our part of the world and beyond.

Over the three weeks participants will gain skills in the traditional arts of Fibre Preparation, Wet-felting, Needle-felting, Spinning and Nalbinding.
The course will feed your creative and artistic self while deepening your appreciation of sheep’s wool and all its uses.
You’ll leave with a new insight and passion for working with this incredible material and also your own beautiful, useful pieces of craft and art.
I sincerely look forward to sharing my passion and practical knowledge with you and to enjoying this textile journey together.

Traditional knitted thrums

Day One. 06/11/21

Handling your wool.
The linguistics of textiles.
A short introduction to needle-felting.
Wet-Felting project to take home.

Day Two. 13/11/21

Processing your wool.
Experience the tactile stages of wool-crafting.
Scouring, carding, combing, hand-spinning, wheel-spinning, and weaving.
Make and learn to use your own hand spindle.

Day Three. 20/11/21

Transforming your wool.
A look at the wide use of wool in human culture.
The properties, composition and function of common and exotic animal fibres.
Create your own tailored choice of nalbinded accessory or fabric.
(Nalbinding is a type of proto-knitting with a single needle)

All natural, high quality, organic and locally sourced materials.
All materials and equipment are provided.
Environmentally conscious. Perfect for gift making.

5 to 8 participants.
4 hours duration.

Important Note.
If you are pregnant or immune-compromised please notify me in advance of booking.

Time: 10 – 2 pm

Cost: £50 per person of £142 for advanced block booking

The Summer of (Forest) Love

May be an image of 2 people, people sitting and outdoors
Clay work on the last day

Our summer scheme – the first ever this year – was sold out. It is hard to believe that Elements is slightly less than a year old.

Children from all over North Down and Belfast got to experience the excitement of the Northern Irish summer.

From the start of July’s scorching heat to the almost deluge at the end of the first week of August, there was always fun to be had.

May be an image of nature and tree
A perfect day

As nature becomes recognised as more and more important to our well being, being part of Forest School is being seen as something which feeds all elements (excuse the pun) of our bodies and souls.

May be an image of nature, tree and grass
A magical site

It is almost a cliche to speak about the sites which we visit as magical but this site really IS magical. The land looked after so thoughtfully by Glencraig is one of the most sensitively managed areas we have used. And yet at the same time so welcoming to people.

May be an image of 1 person, standing and body of water
Dam building

It has a river which rises and falls – in a very safe manner. The water is filled with trout and we spent many happy hours trying to catch them.

The children were able to watch first hand the effect of rain on these streams and due to the cleanliness of the water they were able to play in them. It is quite sad that many water courses in Ireland are so polluted due to agricultural run off. But not here!!!!

May be an image of nature, tree and body of water
The Troll Bridge

The forest is large enough for adventures to take place. Like this walk over the troll bridge. Here stories are made and come to life. Here lessons can be learnt without ever being taught. For instance… the troll who lived under this bridge. He lived there because his family didn’t want him to live under the bridges in Belfast because he did not want to eat people. So he now lived there as he caught only fish. So let us be kind to the troll and be good to the water.

May be an image of nature, tree and body of water
River walking

Walking in rivers and chasing fish is a lost art – many children today are taught to fear the water and fire. But at Elements, supervised fun is given free reign.

May be an image of one or more people, fire and outdoors
Cooking bannock

Because we have a small number of children and a group of experienced and passionate teachers, we are able to carry out some very exciting but practical activities. Cooking is very close to children’s hearts and Matthew Walton our new Forest School teacher made gluten free bannock.

May be an image of food and outdoors
Potato gratin!

We also made potato gratin over the open fire. Apparently this is the best potato dish anyone had ever made!

May be an image of food, fire and outdoors
May be an image of child, standing and grass

We whittled little sticks and walking sticks! Knife skills for six to 12 year olds is something we delight in doing. Children working with fire and knives learn that these are tools which are to be respected. If they are careful with them, they will be able to be in control of the fire/ knife and something dangerous can be a help meet.

May be an image of 1 person, standing, nature and tree
Bringing back a sycamore tree

With the permission of Glencraig, we were able to harvest young sycamore trees as part of the forest management activity and turn these beautiful trees into walking sticks which were keepsakes. We made nettle cords and these were then used to create handles on the walking sticks which hands could be slipped through.

May be an image of 1 person and outdoors
No photo description available.
The activity of using a knife to whittle a stick is one which requires intense willforce
May be an image of 1 person and outdoors
We also made clay animals which will be fired by Eden pottery
May be an image of child, sitting and outdoors
May be an image of 4 people, people sitting, tree and outdoors
The story told was the birth of Lugh which was seasonally appropriate

We also spent time at the beach and made rocket stoves learning how to make a small efficient fire using only a tin and cottonwool. Every day was a learning day, every minute a minute of fun and just like that it was over.

May be an image of 1 person, child, sitting, standing and outdoors

Tired but happy has to be our tagline… that and of course, the Greatest Outdoors!!!!

Page 2 of 8

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén