TMOTH (the man of the house) and I stayed in a lovely little B&B in Leura. I would highly recommend Woodford of Leura for its welcoming charm and comfort. The owner is new to town and she works hard to ensure her guests have everything they could possibly want. A raging, warm fire greeted us upon our arrival and our rooms were clean and fresh, with not the slightest bit of chintz to be seen. Breakfast was hot and scrumptious and we woke up to brightly coloured birds feeding in the peaceful, green garden. What a lovely way to start the day.
Leura is an unexpectantly gorgeous little town. With a variety of boutique shops selling all manner of things from brightly coloured leather to hand-crafted chocolates, there is nothing “country” about this part of the world. No, there is a distinct Balmain flavour to the high-street. Mike and I had a wonderful date night in Leura. We stopped in at the local pub, The Alex, to watch South Africa get a lesson in how to play rugby and then meandered over to Silks Brassier for a quite stunning meal, a lot of wine and vigorous conversation about all manner of things.
I didn’t do anything you would normally equate with visiting the Blue Mountains. Instead, I made jewellery. At first I was a little concerned about what I had let myself in for. Sondi’s studio, on the property she lives on near Wentworth Falls, is set deep in the bush. As we drove down a winding “private” driveway, towards the edge of the ridge, Mike remarked, as he is wont to do, “Well, the Russians won’t find you here.” But I took one look at Sondi’s magnificent house, with its glass wall presenting an unobstructed and glorious view across the Jamieson Valley and I was struck rather speechless with delight. Even without the exciting jewellery making that was to come, to see such a view was worth the trip. Additionally, the whole house, while being entirely ecological, from self-composting toilet to rain tanks and grey water system, is also something that could happily appear in House & Garden. It was utterly beautiful, and just goes to show that we can live at one with nature without sacrificing luxury or aesthetics, if we only put our mind to it.
But to the workshop! Now, I’ll confess, making jewellery is never going to be my thing. But what a fun way to spend a weekend. And I am so utterly proud of my sterling silver ring that I made entirely on my own. Okay, I got a little help, but mostly, mostly it was made by me! There is something about making things yourself that is completely rewarding. As though this little piece of silver now contains a part of me. Much more precious than if I had bought it from someone else at Manly Markets.
Sondi herself is a complete character – such a lovely lady – and full of excited explanations and screeches of joy as she imparts her knowledge to us. How I wish Mike’s mum could have known her, but nonetheless, I feel enriched for having met her and done this course in this way. There is an intimacy about the studio, a passion for artistic endeavour and a sense that you are not just learning a skill (which, lets face it I am never going to use again), but rather an appreciation of art and life and all the effort that goes into those things. I feel priviliged and inspired to have met someone who lives her passion and I hope I can continue down this path of following mine with vigour and purpose, for therein, I am coming to believe, lies contentment with life’s inexplicable foibles.