Author: Ricefield (page 1 of 6)

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2024 at Ricefield Arts in February

Hello, my name is Jingwei, I joined Ricefield Arts in October 2023 as a placement, and I have been involved in and supported many activities with the promotion of traditional Chinese culture.

On the 10th of February, we had a wonderful Chinese New Year celebration at Flemington House in partnership with the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow and Interfaith Scotland. This was the first time I had been part of an event of this size and was tasked with managing the playback of the music equipment.

Performers for February 10th

During the celebration, we were treated to many traditional Chinese arts, including Sichuan Opera Face Changing, Long Silk Dance, Peking Opera and Yangqin performance, which enabled the audience not only to enjoy these wonderful performances but also to appreciate the unique charm of traditional Chinese culture.

Group Photo for February 10th

On the 11th of February, we travelled to the Chinese New Year celebration supported by Ricefield Arts in Perth. At 9.30 am, members of the organization and six volunteers met downstairs at the office to begin the much-anticipated journey.

Volunteers Group Photo for February 11th

Upon arrival in Perth, we set up the exhibition hall as planned. One of the volunteers and I were responsible for making Year of the Dragon bookmarks and preparing red cardboard, Chinese toasts and dragon stickers. During the making process, we introduced the participants to the verbal expressions and meanings of the Chinese style wishes. Children and parents actively participated in learning the meanings of each word, which was warmly welcomed.

Jingwei and a participant

At the Calligraphy booth, volunteers taught participants how to hold a pen and write the Chinese character for FU “福”.

Three of Our Volunteers at the Calligraphy Booth

At the Chopsticks Challenge booth, three shapes of objects were designed and the challengers had to pick them up with chopsticks and put them back on the tray. Those who completed the challenge were awarded fortune biscuits.

Volunteers are handing out fortune cookies to a successful participant

We also ran a merchandise stall selling traditional Chinese crafts such as Chinese knots, face paint and kites. Everyone was curious about these items and bought them or gave them as gifts to their friends.

Our volunteers are explaining the meaning of products to customers

On February 17th, our Chinese New Year Welcome Event took place at Kelvin Hall. Given its magnitude, we enlisted the support of over 10 volunteers. We convened in the meeting room to introduce ourselves.

Volunteers Lunch for 17th February

At the entrance of the hall, we built a wishing tree and invited participants to share their hopes and wishes for the coming year. In the Chinese costume exhibition area, children took photos of traditional Chinese costumes against a themed backdrop.

Our Volunteers at the Wishing Tree Booth

During the tea ceremony, our knowledgeable volunteers led a tea-tasting session, introducing Chinese tea culture while everyone enjoyed their tea.

Volunteers at the Tea-tasting Booth

My task was to design a handheld pendant for the Year of the Dragon. Since this is the Year of the Dragon, it was crucial to capture the mysterious and intricate characteristics of the mythical creature, the dragon. In addition, we incorporated other typical Chinese elements such as pandas, temples and fortune cats. To cater for both children and adults, I chose stencil carving to provide them with a diverse selection of artefacts. With creative colouring and tassel decoration, the pendants are lifelike and charming.

Participating children make their dragon crafts
One of the samples

In addition, we set up three sticker punch points at the Chopsticks Challenge, Shuttlecock Game and Library. Participants could earn stickers by completing tasks at each station and collect rewards by completing sticker collection at the end of the library.

Volunteers at the three sticker collection points

The day ended with a sense of achievement and joy shared by all participants!

Group Photo for Kelvin Hall

On February 18th, Ricefield Arts’ culminating Chinese New Year celebration commenced at the Burrell Collection, featuring an array of engaging events scattered throughout the museum, with dedicated volunteers guiding attendees through various activities.

Our dance teachers orchestrated two mesmerising Chinese dance performances showcasing carefully choreographed steps and a vibrant satin dance class which attracted a large number of students.

Dance Performance

Participants of the Dance Workshop

In addition, we organised two engaging storytelling sessions that delved into the symbolism of the Chinese Zodiac and the New Year animal “年兽”.

Our storyteller telling the story of the Zodiac
Our storyteller telling the story of the New Year animal “年兽”

During this event, I also acted as a calligraphy instructor, teaching calligraphy skills and guiding participants in handwriting simple numbers and Chinese names. It was very moving to see the participants, including those well-versed in Chinese culture, seriously tackling the challenge of mastering traditional characters.

Our Calligraphy Booth for the day at the Burrell Collection

In February 2024, I had the privilege of interning at four Ricefield Arts locations for their Chinese New Year celebrations. From making connections with new volunteers to engaging with participants from different cultural backgrounds, I have fond memories of each experience. These opportunities not only sharpened my communication skills but also taught me the importance of effectively executing tasks and maintaining high standards in large-scale event management – a challenge I had never encountered before. Reflecting on these experiences, I am eagerly looking forward to making meaningful contributions to promoting Chinese culture at the Ricefield Arts in the future.

Celebrating Halloween: Unmasking the Traditions

Happy Halloween Festival from the Ricefield team!

Did you know? The Chinese word for Halloween is 万圣节 (wànshèngjié), literally “Ten Thousand Saints Festival”. According to tradition, kids put on a Costume (服装 – fúzhuāng) and wear a Halloween Mask (面具 – miàn jù).

Today, we’re sharing with you a video of our stage show for Halloween this year! ‘The Injustice to Dou E (窦娥冤)‘ was a mesmerizing part of the ‘Ghost Stories – from Around the World’ event, performed on the 20th of October at the world’s oldest music hall, The Britannia Panopticon Music Hall.

Get ready to be spellbound! Watch the video here.

Stay tuned for more updates and cultural insights at Ricefield Arts.

#HalloweenFestivities #ChineseTraditions #RicefieldHalloween #TheatreMagic #GhostStoriesOnStage

Chinese New Year Celebration at Merchant Square

The Yuan Xiao Festival (元宵节) falls on February 5 in 2023, and it signifies the last day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. Ricefield Arts celebrated this special day with a fun afternoon of Chinese arts and cultural activities at Merchant Square on 5 February 2023.

Our placement student Boxuan Ma wrote a blog to share her experience helping out at the event:

I am delighted to be a part of this event, which is a traditional Chinese Lantern Festival held at Merchant Square in Glasgow.

We delivered a variety of Chinese culture-related activities at the event. These include Chinese calligraphy, calligraphy tattoo, chopsticks challenge, Chinese Hanfu costume booth, lantern making, and demonstration of traditional Chinese instrument – Guzheng.

This event not only attracted the Chinese community in Glasgow, but also the diverse communities in Glasgow who are interested to know more about Chinese culture. Many parents also brought their children here to try different activities and had a fun time.

Merchant Square, in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City, is the location. Visitors were impressed by the festive decorations with rows of red lanterns on arrival.

We encouraged visitors to try ancient Chinese Hanfu at our costume booth . There are different styles of Hanfu for men and women that visitors can choose from. I also put it on Hanfu myself. It looks fantastic and reminded me to ancient times in an instant.

One of the fun activities we offered was Chopstick challenge, where visitors can learn how to use Chinese chopstick. Visitors can practise by using chopsticks to pick up items from large to small. Those completed the challenges were awarded fortune cookies.

Calligraphy was another activity we offered. Chinese calligraphy is the writing of Chinese in art form, and we are also keen to share the beauty of Chinese art of writing to all visitors. The volunteers patiently taught the participants how to write calligraphy correctly, from technique to hold the brush to the order to write a Chinese character.

The majority of the children were drawn to our craft activity table. I had a busy time together with other volunteers to demonstrate our young visitors how to make paper lanterns. The children were overjoyed making their own lanterns.

At the scene, there was also a demonstration of traditional Chinese musical instruments, Guzheng. The performer in beautiful qipao performing on the spot made us immersed in calming atmosphere.

Finally, we had a craft stall selling Chinese arts and crafts, and also traditional toys children. Paper cutting packs, Chinese knots, zodiac necklaces, and the must-have bunny lanterns for the Lantern Festival can all be found at the stall.

I hope all our visitors and the kids had a wonderful and fulfilling day. We had pleasure sharing our culture with the local communities.

This event is a joint celebration between Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre, Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow, and Merchant Square.

Chinese New Year Celebration at Kelvin Hall

Our placement volunteer Betty Zhang wrote a blog to share her experience helping out at our Chinese New Year celebration at Kelvin Hall on 28 January 2023:

On January 28th, the Ricefield Arts and the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow hosted a celebration of the Chinese New Year at Kelvin Hall. As a volunteer with Ricefield Arts, I had a fantastic time.

Nearly 35 volunteers, including myself, arrived at Kelvin Hall at 11 am to begin setting up. We hung lanterns and decorated the space with red and yellow tablecloths. By 12pm, everything was ready to go.

Upon entering the reception, visitors were encouraged to write their wishes on cards and hang them from a “wishing tree”, a popular New Year tradition.

The first activity was a traditional Chinese dance workshop, which I helped organise and encouraged visitors to join. The dance steps were easy to follow, and with the help of workshop leader Annie, many visitors enjoyed the fun of the Chinese dance.

In the sports hall, there were plenty of interactive activities, including the shuttlecock game, a popular sport in China for over 1000 years. Participants of all ages happily took part in trying to keep the shuttlecock off the ground for as long as they could.

Many visitors also took this opportunity to try table tennis, and made their own Chinese New Year hanging decoration at the event.

Another activity was blowing ink painting, a special form of Chinese art. Participants simply added black ink to the paper and started blowing, using brighter ink and other materials to decorate. The results were fascinating.

Based on the pronunciation of English names, our volunteers taught visitors write their English names in Chinese on cards.

Overall, volunteering with Ricefield Arts was a wonderful experience. I reconnected with many friends and am already looking forward to the next event.

This event is a joint celebration between Ricefield Arts and Cultural Centre, Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow, and Kelvin Hall.

Ricefield Arts Appreciation Event

On Monday 24th October 2022,  Ricefield Arts hosted an appreciation event to thank everyone who worked along with us to support our online community wellbeing programme during unprecedented times since May 2020, and also to those who helped out at in-person workshops throughout our post-lockdown recovery stage in 2022.

Our volunteer Betty Zhang shared this blog post about her experience supporting at the event.

We were delighted to host the Ricefield Arts Appreciation Event at the Windsor Community Centre, Glasgow. The event was attended by our workshop leaders, staff, board members, volunteers, interns, event partners, and performers from previous events.  Many people only had met each other via Zoom in last two years, so it was a good opportunity for everyone to catch up with each other.

Participants enjoyed traditional Chinese food such as egg fried rice, chow mein, and spring rolls as light dinner. We had a delicious dessert of carrot cake, macarons, and doughnuts.

Firstly, Else Kek, as the Chairperson of Ricefield Arts, expressed her genuine appreciation to everyone who worked with us to support the Online Community Wellbeing Programme during the pandemic.
Some of our workshop leaders and performers shared their experiences. Many of them had never tried delivering online workshops or performing online before, thus they were grateful to Ricefield for providing the opportunity to let more people know about traditional Chinese art through an online platform.

 

Then we moved onto the group activities. We played the Human bingo game as an icebreaker. Everyone had around 10 minutes to mingle until they find people that match the facts listed on a bingo-style sheet. All of the attendees who completed the game received a unique gift from us, such as a Scottish-China tartan scarf or a hand-painted Christmas bauble. The icebreaker was a great way for everyone to get to know each other and have fun!

The last part of the event was the drumming workshop delivered by workshop leader Jane. Everyone was given a hand drum or a shaker and musician Eddie joined in using his bamboo flute. Workshop leader and singer Fong also sang along during the drumming session. It was wonderful to play instruments together!

Finally, we took a big group photo to capture the evening. Thank you to all of our of workshop leaders, staff, volunteers and everyone who has supported Ricefield over the past few years!

 

 

Volunteer blogs : Ricefield’s Chinese New Year Events 2020

Ricefield Arts had a busy month in February with our Chinese New Year celebrations programme.  This busy programme of activity wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our hard-working volunteer team.

A few of our volunteers had written blogs to share their experience taking part in and helping at our Chinese New Year events. Feel free read their blogs below. Thanks to our volunteer Debbie who helped us to take photos at Kelvin Hall & Riverside Museum too.

Volunteer blog 1:  Written by Jialin 

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Kelvin Hall 

Ricefield Arts organised the annual Chinese New Year celebrations with venue partner Kelvin Hall on Saturday 8 February 2020, I am honoured to be one of the volunteers with Ricefield this time, to help promoting traditional Chinese games and craft activities to visitors. Over thirty volunteers were recruited to support this event. We gathered at 10 am in the activity room in Kelvin Hall for a volunteer briefing, and headed to set up venue after.

My task of the day was to interact with the visitors at the chopstick challenge table.  The visitors who took part in the chopstick challenge were asked to pick up objects of different sizes using chopsticks, and those who completed the challenge were given fortune cookies as their reward. To my surprise, some parents are able to use chopsticks very well, and have shown their interest in Chinese food and culture. We taught many children to use chopsticks and it was fun to see the children keep practicing enthusiastically. I was really happy! ꒰ᐢ⸝⸝•-•⸝⸝ᐢ꒱

My favourite activity was the origami (paper folding) workshop beside our table. I took opportunity during my break to learn some paper folding technique from other volunteers manning the origami table. I was proud to turn a piece of square paper to a little origami rat!

There were other interesting activities being delivered as part of the event, including a lion dance performance. Watching a lion dance performance is one of the traditional customs of the Chinese New Year. Being able to see a lion dance in the UK really touched the hearts of every overseas student. The children and everyone of us enjoyed the performance.| ᐕ)⁾⁾

The event ended at four in the afternoon. I was very lucky to met many talented friends and other volunteers from Ricefield through this event. This is my first time participating in Ricefield’s activities, but it will not be the last time. I hope we will meet again next time! .^◡^.

 

Volunteer blog 2:  Written by Silin

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Kelvin Hall

The Chinese New Year event at Kelvin Hall was very interesting! There were many booths! Other than traditional activities like Chinese lanterns making and Chinese calligraphy writing, we also delivered interactive games such as shuttlecock kicking. There were activities suitable for different age groups, and the event was well attended by families with children.

As a volunteer at the Chinese calligraphy table, I felt that I was no longer just an ordinary volunteer, but more like a participant. I had been practising Chinese calligraphy writing throughout the event happily while demonstrating to all visitors.

The most memorable thing for me was the lion dance. As a Cantonese who is familiar with this activity, I think the lion dance was very authentic. The crowd applauded enthusiastically when they saw it, and the children were so excited to see the lion.

 

Volunteer blog 3 :  Written by Menghan

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Kelvin Hall

I had a wonderful experience with Ricefield Arts in their annual Chinese New Year celebrations event on 8 February. It was my first time taking part in volunteering work in Glasgow and also in the UK. I really enjoyed the volunteering experience and also meeting many new friends there.

Chinese New Year Celebration is an annual event of Ricefield Arts to engage with the diverse communities through cultural sharing. As a volunteer, we enjoyed the opportunity given to us to interact with the local communities through delivering activities. 35 volunteers were recruited to support this event, and all of us were asked to gather in the Kelvin Hall at 10am on that day for preparation works. We displayed a traditional lion head, which represents good luck and fortune, on the information booth to attract visitors. There was also a wishing tree beside the information booth for visitors to make a wish.

I was mainly based at the lantern making workshop during the event.  This activity was most popular with children, and we had been extremely busy. We taught them how to make their own paper lanterns step-by-step. It was meaningful for me to teach someone to learn about a traditional Chinese craft such as making lanterns.  Children were so happy to leave the table with the lanterns they made themselves.

I have learnt a lot through this event. Although I was a newcomer for Ricefield Arts, I believe that I would keep volunteering with them in the future. Thank you and see you soon!

 

Volunteer blog 4:  Written by Nancy 

Chinese New Year Family Fun Day at Riverside Museum

We had a busy day delivering activities at the Chinese New Year event at the Riverside Museum. The event was on the last day of Chinese New Year period, which also known as ‘The Lantern Festival’. Because of that, ‘The Street’ inside the Riverside Museum was decorated with a lot of red lanterns, and we delivered lantern making as one of our activities. Our volunteers showed the process of making simple Chinese lanterns to visitors, and guided the children to make, design and decorate their own paper lanterns. This activity was popular among children and we believe this type of craft activity stimulated children’s creativity.

This year is the Chinese Year of the Rat. We hosted a few Chinese zodiac animals storing telling session for children inside the subway station. We also had a Chinese zodiac booth for visitors to find out their Chinese zodiac animals, and its corresponding meaning on the display boards we have made in advance.

We also had a photo booth corner for visitors to try Chinese traditional clothing ‘Hanfu’. Volunteers had a great time demonstrating colourful Hanfu to the visitors. They also helped those interested to try on and took photos. . Different designs of Hanfu in ancient China reflected different life styles and social status. For example, the style of Hanfu worn by the emperor and the royal family would look very different.

Overall, the event has been very successful, bringing people a lot of fun while sharing the beauty of Chinese culture.

Volunteer blog 5:  Written by Sherry 

Chinese New Year Workshops at Princes Square

It was the first time I participated in Ricefield’s event. We delivered some craft activities at the courtyard inside the Princes Square to celebrate Chinese New Year. The courtyard was transformed and featured a lovely pagoda and red carpets. Families were invited to take part in a series of Chinese craft workshops. 

My main task was to teach people to make a lantern, and most of them were children. To be honest, I never made a lantern on my own before, so I was shown the technique and quickly learnt to make a few before the workshop. When I started making one with a group of children by my side, I felt that the whole process was manageable and incredibly calming.

I heard there were other craft workshops, such as dragon puppet and CNY hanging decoration making, being delivered by Ricefield Arts at Princes Square on other days too. I took part in the activities on Sunday 2nd February, Other than the lantern making, we also had Chinese calligraphy demonstration and chopstick games, which were hugely enjoyable as well.

Back in China, I’ve never cherished my own culture so much as I did in princess square that day. Being surrounded by the crowd who was attracted by our craft stalls and with many asking us questions about china makes me realised how attractive Chinese culture is. I was overwhelmingly delightful to see Chinese culture being appreciated by local residents. As the old song goes ‘I belong to Glasgow…, Glasgow belongs to me….’ This volunteering opportunity provided an opportunity for me to connect to this magnificent city. 

 

Volunteer blog 6:  Written by Zhengduo

Chinese New Year Event at Perth 

On 2nd February, I participated in Ricefield’s Chinese Yew year activity in Perth, as part of the Winter Festival Night Lights event. I was pleased with that, and it was an excellent experience for me.

I found the information from WeChat group several days before the activity. I signed up without hesitation. What’s more, since I have been to Scotland, I didn’t go to any city farther north than Glasgow. This was an excellent chance to visit another city in Scotland.

We were asked to arrive at the meeting point 30 minutes before departure. We helped to moved all stock into the minibus. Interestingly, I came across three big pots of hot water within our stock, and I did not know what would we do with them. It took us about 1 hour to travel to Perth by minibus. On the way, I found it was raining outside. When we arrived in Perth, the weather didn’t get better, and I also felt cold.

However, the weather could not stop our passion, and everyone seemed to be very happy and full of expectation. At that time, I knew why I was told to wear my warm coat before the departure and why we brought the hot water! The event took place at the Norrie Miller Walk, a beautiful riverside local park in Perth. All volunteers were assigned tasks on arrival and we started to set up. We had a merchandise stall to sell Chinse arts and crafts merchandise at the event. We also delivered some traditional craft activities, and as ‘Bookmark Making’, ‘Paper Dragon Making’, ‘Learn About Your Chinese Name’, etc to engage with the visitors.

After a simple dinner, the celebration began. In the beginning, everyone was so shy that no one came to see us. However, as time went by, we successfully attracted the first one, then, more and more people came to us. It was a hectic day. During the activity, there were a few interesting things. As we got an activity to help visitors to find their Chinese names, and we also helped them to write their Chinese names on the bookmark. Sometimes, we found these two names were totally different. I had to explain to them what was a transliterated name and what was a translated name. Then I faced another problem. A local woman was very interesting Chinese words, and she found characters projected to the ground, and she took the photo to ask me. To be honest, it was so difficult because those characters were completely upside down after the projection. I finally understood them with the help of other volunteers, but another question was, how could I translate these Chinese idioms into English. I tried my best to explain. Luckily, she finally understood what I meant and  left happily.

I thought this was a meaningful activity. This is not only promoting Chinese traditional culture but also gave me a deeper understanding of cultural knowledge. I feel more confident with my interpersonal skill through the face-to-face communications with the local communities, and I was also very impressed with the friendliness of the Scottish people. I am now a member of Ricefield’s marketing group, and I hope that I can do my best to help promoting Chinese culture, to engage with people from different cultures, while improving my communication skills.

 

Heritage Learning Trip 2020 – New Lanark

We organised a heritage learning trip  for our volunteers to visit New Lanark Visitor Centre in early March, where we explored fascinating history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This trip has been supported by WSREC  for us to learn more about heritage site and history of Scotland, thank you for giving us this amazing experience. We were lucky to make this trip before the lockdown started.

Ricefield volunteer Amy has written a blog to share her experience:

Today is Sunday 15th March, the day of our adventure trip to the New Lanark!

It was a good trip to get some relief and enjoy some fresh air , why not! We love nature ! It was a typical wet morning in Glasgow. Of course we’ve made sure that we have done the precautions, and our volunteer coordinator Yujing even brought the hand sanitizer in her backpack! Our minibus departed at approximately 9:30am, we arrived at the New Lanark in about an hour. The New Lanark Mills heritage site, previously owned by Robert Owen, covers a fairly massive woodlands area,  and this is where thousands of people used to live during the 19th century, .


Apparently we were ‘early birds’! When we arrived, he heritage site was not opened yet, so we  decided to go for a hike in the woodland first, and to explore the falls of clyde. Walking amoung the scenic natural reserves, the sun came out from time to time, shimmering in the river, everyone seemed so happy.

 

A PICTURE OF BADGER 獾 Looks like there are badgers hiding somewhere!!

‘What is that sound? Oh, look! Immediately we saw this beautiful , giant waterfall in front of us, embracing by trees, just like a live romantic Scottish painting! We took a lot of photos and our volunteer Hao Yan performed a nice tune on the flute in front of the waterfall for us.

Group Photo

Then, we kept walking, talking, and just relaxing ,immersed with the nature. We smelled the forest, discovered some unknown flowers, fully enjoyed the beauty of nature. Afterwards, we went back to the site. It was open now. Our first stop was the Annie McLeod experience ride, where we sat in motorised ‘pods’ which led us around the ride. We travelled back in time into a world of the people who lived in this village 100 years ago, in which we were guided by a virtual girl Annie who told us the story of their interesting old way of living , the people and everything. It was so magical and fascinating to learn about the history in this way. We all loved it!

A quirky doorway catched my eye.

 

Next, we visited to this mill’s owner, Mr Robert Owen’s old house. It was a big and fancy house that indicated the status and the richness of the owner at that time. There were a lot to explore. We got to see some rare pictures of the Owen family and more history about New Lanark.

 

We also had the chance to visit the shops and school of the Mill. Children used to have lessons and making friends in this place, that was the idea of Mr. Owen that everyone should have the opportunity to be educated and he also believed that the notion of building up a community where people can happily live, work, go to school and more. And he did, marvelously, through these ancient buildings and stories I can imagine their lives in the past, their happy community lives. 

 

After that, we visited the old factory where there are displays of different tools and machines that joined in the process of producing the wool we see today. Good to see this interesting making process! We also went to the roof top garden  where the whole New Lanark was overlooking by us. However ,it was super cold up there, we made our wishes in the wish pool and we quickly left!

 

 

Lastly, we came to an eco-friendly children’s playground, and spent some time hanging out. We were as happy as a child!   After about 4 hours’ visit at the New Lanark, we were back in our minibus and headed home. It was an amazing trip for everyone, and we got to know each other better through this trip.  It would be a memory that we could always look back with a smile .

 

 

Thanks to everyone!! Wish we will go on our next trip soon !

New Lanark, we’ll definitely be back again!

Woodland Learning Trip 2019 – Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

We organised an outdoor learning trip  to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in August, where we learnt more about Scotland landscapes, scenery, wildlife, plants, nature, and the unpredictable weather! This trip has been supported by Forestry Commission for us to learn more about woodlands in Scotland, thank you for giving us this amazing experience.

Our day out was packed with various “adventurous” activities such as forest walks, bird-watching,  foraging, wooden carving, etc.  It was fair to categorise this as an “adventure” for our group, considering many of us have never experienced any form of woodland-based activity.

Ricefield volunteer Debbie McCall has written a blog to share her experience:

Our adventure began at 9am on Sunday 18th August!

Around 17 of the Ricefield team met up at Partick station and from there we all traveled by mini bus – except James and Lin who took the car. Food sorted. Raincoats packed. We were prepared to explore the Scottish wilderness, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Lots of misty hills, forests and lochs.

Our first location was the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, known as the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.

We took plenty of pictures of the waterfall, stepping on the boulders and pushing through the foliage.  We then took shelter in a little bird hide and observed the birdies eating and tweeting away. The birds were tiny and adorable, from the Chaffinches, Goldcrests, Blue tits and other small woodland birds. At one point a little mouse was spotted munching on the peanuts. The gift shop was very popular – lots of cute soft toys were purchased and the views from around here were breathtaking.

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits. It is Scotland after all, when does it not rain?

Back to the mini bus! We started our journey to explore 3 lochs forest drive, a 7 mile long Forest Drive that took us past three picturesque lochs.

Our first Loch was Lochan Reòidhte, where two dogs were having a whale of a time, jumping in and out of the water. There were some stunning views at this location especially with the misty clouds so low over the hills. We took plenty of photos…mostly of the dogs.

Our next loch was Loch Drunkie. We were hungry and had our much anticipated lunch and snacks. At this point the heavens opened and the rain was a torrential downpour. But we didn’t mind the soggy sandwiches or the squelching mud. This was a true Scottish summer.

During our stroll we discovered a strange instrument in the middle of the pathway. This was like a wooden arch where you pulled at the ropes and rang bells, making all sorts of musical sounds. Lots of catchy tunes were made.

Also we discovered that it’s not always best to avoid the puddles on the path by jumping onto the grass. The forest though looked very mystical, with the long grass, vibrant green moss, toadstools and tall trees that almost touched the clouds.

The third and final Loch was Loch Achray. The weather cleared up and there was finally a glimmer of sunshine. This Loch was surrounded by beautiful Scottish heather which we took a few stems as souvenirs.

To the mini bus!

Our final destination! No it wasn’t the gift shop… though it was very pretty.

It was in fact the wonderful woodcraft workshop with the Green Aspirations team, which took place in a rustic, handmade wooden hut in woodland at Balfron Station.

Paul had given us an introduction to all the tools and how to use them and their limited supply of star wars plasters which all got used. Paul and his team mate, Ian, went through the steps in creating wooden bowls, spoons or my personal favourite… the wands!

These guys were experts therefore made all the whittling and carving look incredibly easy…. it wasn’t. Though it was highly addictive.

There was water boiling in the iron kettle where, at one point,  wild nettle plants were picked and nettle tea was made, which I’ve been told is very good for you! Marshmallows were also roasted on the small fire.

Wood crafting can be addictive! Everyone was really focused on their crafting and some really didn’t want to leave!

We all had a great time with the Green Aspirations Team, and learnt some new skills!

We’ll definitely be back again!

Click here to view more photos of this trip from our Facebook Album.

Volunteer Blog: Ricefield Arts at Mela Festival 2019

Glasgow Mela is Scotland’s biggest free multicultural festival, bursting with live music, theatre performances, exotic mouth-watering foods from around the globe and fun for all ages. We had a busy day running our arts and crafts stall, delivering kite making workshop, and supporting kite flying activity at the festival. Some of our volunteers wore traditional “HanFu” to demonstrate Ancient Chinese clothing from Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)

Here, our volunteer Aswad  Choudhry shares his experience of the day.

It was a great opportunity to be able to help out with a wonderful organisation that I’ve been a part of since 2017 and I thought it would be a great idea to help them out with their many activities planned this year in the annual Glasgow Mela on Sunday 23rd June 2019.

The day started at 11:30 in the morning where we were all served delicious pizza before a long day of hard work ahead of us. There were various activities that was offered to the members of the general public such as kite making for the young ones (and adults too) where they can take their completed creations and fly it at the Picnic Hill area in the Kelvingrove Park.

 

There was also a merchandise store on offer from Ricefield Arts where we sold different types of Chinese arts and crafts items which I found really cool and the people passing by were also fascinated by what was on offer.

I had the chance to take photographs of the activities that were taking place along with being able to also help out in the kite making stall and finally flying a kite in Kelvingrove Park which I’ve never done before. I really enjoyed the kite making stall and seeing the members of the public also having a wonderful time in making the kites in different shapes and sizes.

Overall it was a wonderful experience of once again volunteering with Ricefield Arts and would definitely recommend new members to volunteer and help out as you wouldn’t be disappointed and I’m looking forward to the next event.

Mid-Autumn Festival recap

On 17th September, we hosted a Chinese Dessert Tasting Night to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival with a wonderfully diverse group of people at The Project Cafe. There were 24 of us and everyone learned about the history of Mid-Autumn Festival, how mooncake came about and witnessed a semi-formal way of preparing and serving tea. Mid-Autumn Festival is the second biggest celebration in Chinese culture. It celebrates the harvesting of food and is a time when families reunite to enjoy good food and each other’s company. The famous mooncake was served and a favourite amongst the guests. We were lucky to have a bright full moon to gaze upon while our Marie, Ricefield’s Chair, recited her favourite poem called Thoughts in the Silent Night by famous Chinese poet Li Bai. This event is part of Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA)’s Cooking Pot programme of which we have been a part of since its inception a year ago!

 

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Here is the menu from the night:

Mid-Autumn Festival:  Chinese Dessert Night

中秋节特别活动东方甜点之夜

17th September 2016 @ The Project Café

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Programme & Dessert Menu

Drinks Reception – Special Longan Coconut Juice Mocktail/Nibbles

龙眼椰味无酒精鸡尾酒/ 小食

To start – Chrysanthemum Crystal Jelly 菊花燕菜糕

Mid-Autumn Festival Introduction – Mooncake Tasting/ Storytelling  品尝月饼/ 中秋节故事

Chinese Tea Tasting –Oolung/ Ti Kuan Yin/ Orange Ruffle Flowering Tea乌龙茶/铁观音/花茶

Bakery – Taro Steamed Bun/Ma Lai Gou Sponge Cake /Pandan Cake蒸芋头包/ 马来糕/班兰蛋糕

Dessert soup – Milky Bean Curd Barley Soup / Classic Red Bean Soup  腐竹糖水/ 红豆沙

To end – Oriental fruits 水果 (Snow Pear)

 

Click to download the night’s presentation slideshow

 

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