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Crystal Energies - October 2017

Posted by [email protected] on October 17, 2017 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Penny Rowley was the interesting speaker for October and the evening just flew by. She was very informative and explained all about crystals and what they can offer.

Crystals and minerals are found within the crust of the earth and are naturally occurring. There are over 250,000 crystals and minerals and many offer a range of benefits. A couple of examples include Lapis Lazuli that many believe brings wisdom, Carnelian can aid stamina and confidence. Penny explained that all crystals can help to remove negativity. She went on to highlight where you can purchase crystals and how you can energise them and look after them. A thoroughly fascinating evening!

Wooden House craft Workshop

Posted by [email protected] on October 7, 2017 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

A wonderful morning was had by ten of the Barlaston Herons and their families on the 7th October at Barlaston Village Hall. Sam, the President, ran a seaside cottage craft workshop and had the ladies sanding, staining, painting, hammering and drilling. The result was some fantastic little cottages that everyone was proud of! It was a lovely social event and everyone chatted whilst they worked. There was, of course, the usual homemade refreshments to enjoy.

Trent & Mersey Canal - Sept 2017

Posted by [email protected] on September 23, 2017 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

A fascinating evening was had by the lovely ladies of Barlaston Herons WI on Tuesday 19th September. Steve Wood came and gave the ladies a wonderful walk through the history of the Trent and Mersey Canal. He illustrated the historic points with the aid of photographs and documents from 1577 onwards! He discussed the use of the canal through the industrial start to modern day leisure facilities. He highlighted a couple of projects are are currently being discussed and the future of our local canals including the Burslem Port Project and the Cheshire Locks Project.


Steve was at pains to thank any groups that volunteer on the canals as many stretches are made to look loved and cared for by such generous people. There are numerous opportunities to get involved and to embrace the history of canals through organisation such as the Canal and River Trust. It certainly made you feel proud of the industrial heritage of Stoke-on-Trent and the fact that we are all close to a canal.


There are lots of fun activities ahead for Barlaston Herons WI including craft workshops, Christmas handmade gift exchange and a Christmas party! The next meeting is the 17th October and is on crystal energies, new members always welcome.

Narrowboat floral art - August 2017

Posted by [email protected] on August 18, 2017 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The Barlaston Herons enjoyed a relaxing evening on Tuesday as they held their annual August craft meeting where they decorated wooden spoons, Maria told the ladies a little history of the narrowboat painters, boat owners would leave an item to be painted, a note of what they wanted and payment at the door of the painter and would collect the finished item a few weeks later as they chugged by. Maria then took the ladies step by step through painting their own narrowboat floral art on a wooden spoon.

Summer is the time that members are asked to submit ideas to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes for resolutions that the WI might campaign for next year. Herons President Sam Taylor put forward details of a resolution to ban single use plastic and the members agreed to submit the resolution in a vote. We all throw plastic away, but there is no ‘AWAY’, everything has to go somewhere, the increasing volume of single use plastic that we all consume in our plastic bottles, wrapped sandwiches and biscuits etc. is polluting our countryside and oceans, we must all consider alternatives to buying items wrapped in throw away plastic.


Whistle Wizards - July 2017

Posted by [email protected] on July 22, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

A lively and entertaining evening took place on Tuesday 18th July for the Pirehill 100 annual meeting. It was the turn of Barlaston Herons WI to host the event for the 5 different local WIs in the group. A warm welcome was extended and the ladies from the Herons did the WI proud with their gorgeous range of homemade cakes for the visitors.

The speaker woke everyone up as he was the 'Whistle Wizard' from Acme Whistles in Birmingham. Simon Topham kept the attention of the ladies with interesting facts and many wonderful sounds from the range of whistles. He told the history of the acme whistle from the start in the 1880s to today. The story began with Joseph Hudson making his first whistle for the police in 1883, followed by how he then successfully targeted other professions including referees, tram conductors and teachers. Simon beautifully demonstrated the range of bird call whistles such as the nightingale call and cuckoo call. Amusing stories around the whistles were told in an engaging way and staggering facts shared. Acme have worked with many organisations including Kellogg's, BT and the Loch Ness monster! Six million whistles are made by Acme Whistles every year and the company employs over 70 people. What was really heartwarming was the fact that the company still hold the family values that Joseph Hudson started at the heart of the way they work today.

Fantasywire - June 2017

Posted by [email protected] on June 22, 2017 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

If you have ever visited Trentham Gardens and seen the amazing wire fairies you must have wondered how they were made and who was behind it. Well, Barlaston Herons WI had all their questions answered as they spent a fascinating evening with Robin Wight from Fantasy Wire, the man behind those thought provoking designs.

Robin took the ladies through a journey of the fairies from beginnings to a glimpse of the future! Robin started his career as a maintenance fitter and moved onto software manufacturing but all through his life had been creative with various materials. On family holidays with his kids he would spend hours making sand sculptures. His inspiration for the fairies came when the family moved into the countryside and were surrounded by beautiful nature. Robin was mending a fence when the thought of sculpting with it emerged. This started a journey of many adaptations till Robin was satisfied with the material, proportions, gravity and density. Robin spoke with fondness of each fairy and showed breath-taking images. Even the names were inspiration including Watcher, Tree Hugger and Balance.

The fairies are stunning and are placed all around the world now. Robin has worked with a range of organisations from the Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Gardeners World and, of course, Trentham Gardens. Many people have enjoyed the challenge of a ‘fairy trail’. Robin admitted that social media has given him an opportunity to share his work with the wider world.

In recent years Robin has introduced the intricate wire dandelions and has combined these with his fairies and the result is just spectacular! His goal is to have the fairy named ‘Dancing with Dandelions’ made as large as the Angel of the North and the Barlaston Herons WI will be waiting to see such a special event!

More information can be found at

The meeting ended with the usual homemade cakes and refreshments whilst the business was discussed. A report was delivered by Marianne from the WI Annual Conference that was held in Liverpool and included ways forward for the WI and debates on how the WI can impact on the environment and social elements of life such as loneliness.

WIFI 2017 - 16-18 June 2017

Posted by [email protected] on June 19, 2017 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

5 members from Barlaston Herons joined other WI members for the @WIFI2017 (Women's Institute Friends Included) camping weekend. Staying in a beautiful bell tent, we talked, ate, crafted, repeat, all weekend. And what a weekend, the sun shone and shone ☀☀☀


Afternoon Tea, Boat Trip - May 2017

Posted by [email protected] on June 5, 2017 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It was a warm if not that sunny day for the Barlaston Herons Afternoon Tea, Boat trip. This afternoon members and friends took a relaxing chug along the canal whilst enjoying tasty treats aboard the 'Sir Thomas Brocklebank' narrowboat on their afternoon cream tea cruise. Waving at passersby on the towpath the group enjoyed the scenery and didn't want to leave when the cruise came to the end. We would definately recommend this for a relaxing summers afternoon and look forward to visiting with them again.


Paragon China - May 2017

Posted by [email protected] on June 3, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A fascinating evening took place on Tuesday 16th May at the Barlaston Herons WI meeting. Kath Artus from the Paragon China Collectors Club came and gave a talk about all things Paragon China and passed around a wide range of pieces. It made everyone feel proud to live in the Potteries as they saw the lovely, intricate china pieces.

The ladies had a chance to hear all about the history of Paragon China as Kath walked us through the different stages of the production of all the wares including figurines and the cups and saucers. The talk was brought to life with the relevant pieces of china being passed around for the ladies to admire and get a close look at.

Paragon China has some fascinating history including that there is no information on their figurines as all the records were destroyed! The painting techniques were shared from hand painting to transfers. Paragon China finally stopped production in 1987. It was wonderful to hear that the Paragon China still has a collectors club to keep the history alive.

The meeting then had a short break for refreshments and some lovely cakes, giving the ladies a further chance to take a look at the china. The business highlighted for the evening included the upcoming events of a walk, appealing for volunteers for the Barlaston Car Scheme that helps the community and an inspiring report from the lucky lady that had won the WI bursary and spent it on learning a new skill at Middleport Pottery.

The next meeting is Tuesday 20th June and we are very lucky to have the creator of Trentham Gardens wire fairies.

AGM for 2017

Posted by [email protected] on April 19, 2017 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

It was back to business this month for our annual general meeting.
There was to be no vote for a new president as Sam was the only lady left standing! We welcome her as president for another year with the Herons.
Sue will continue as treasurer assisted by Sandie. Sara will continue as secretary.
All members were reminded that they would be made very welcome to our committee meetings and that we have lots of jobs available to share around. We always welcome new ideas so we can look at things from a new perspective.

The night continued with a quiz whilst we all had our tea and coffee break.
This was as popular as always with teams of two and three guessing the names of old fashioned foods with crypic clues, as well as famous women through the ages.

We welcome everyone to our next meeting on 16th May where will shall be learning all about the local potbank Paragon China.