A specialist training centre for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs in Dorset has been at the ‘heart’ of preparations for a marriage blessing ceremony.
Individuals who attend the Outcomes with Learning (OWL) Town Farm Workshop in Sixpenny Handley are putting the finishing touches to an order for 30 ceramic ‘wedding favours’.
The heart-shaped gifts had pride of place on guests’ tables at the nuptials of Carole Edmond and husband Tim Saxton in Milborne Port on July 22.
Carole is the managing director of Regard, the UK’s fourth biggest private provider of supported living and residential services, who run the workshops.
“I visited OWL Town Farm Workshop in November as part of a visit to Regard’s services across the country and was amazed at the wonderful things they make.
“I particularly loved their ceramic work; and was so impressed in fact, that I put in an order for the ‘wedding favours’ to share with our guests on our ‘big day’.
“We are so delighted to be able to contribute to Regard’s local social enterprise by buying these beautiful items.”
Eight individuals who attend the workshop – which offers activities including crafts, gardening, and horse riding pottery, weaving and swimming – were tasked with making the hearts.
“The first part of the process is to knead the clay to make it easier to work with and to force out any air bubbles,” said the workshop’s Corinna Whitehead, who is co-ordinating the ‘wedding favour’ order.
“The clay is rolled out to the right thickness and the hearts are cut out using a special a template with a hole at the top for a ribbon to go through. They are then biscuit-fired in the kiln for 18 hours.
“The next part of the process involves putting wax on the back of the items and a painting white glaze on the front, along with Carole and Tim’s initials and the date of the ceremony.
“They were fired one last time after which the hearts were decorated with a rhinestone and threaded through with a champagne-coloured ribbon.
“Everyone has so enjoyed working on this project. There was a real sense of purpose and excitement among the group.
“I can see ‘wedding favours’ being a new line for the OWL Town Farm Workshop team.”
Some of the potters travelled to Carole’s reception venue the day before the ceremony to hand them to her in person.
The workshop produces a variety of arts and craft products, including pottery and loom-woven items which are sold at local fairs and online.
The resource and training centre also provides horticultural experience at the nearby Rushmore estate where individuals grow fruits and vegetables and lavender.
OWL Town Farm Workshop provides care and support to adults with learning difficulties, mental health needs and acquired brain injury.