What a fantastic day we had on Monday 1st August. It was a warm bright day in which to enjoy the countryside as we made our way to Thornleyburn in Northumberland to the home of Unison Pastels. We were warmly greeted with coffee and biscuits and then shown round the fascinating setup where the pastels are completely handmade (except they do use a Kenwood electric mixer once the secret recipe is made up for each colour).
The “mixture” comes out of the mixer and the experts take a small exact amount and place it on trays (just like making cookies). These wait a while and are then rolled into the pastel sticks – all by expert hands. (approx 700 per day!)
In another room downstairs, there were drums stacked all around which contained the pigments and next door there were boxes and boxes of finished pastels ready for the girls to make up sets of pastels eg portrait colours or bespoke sets.
Then the most exciting room, where there were boxes of pastels with all the colours in the range. Here we were able to try them out. It can be said that we did stay quite some time in this room playing. It was brilliant!
After spending time choosing our colours, the lists were given to the girls next door who made up the boxes which involved putting the label around each pastel and boxing them up.
After thanking our hosts we set of to Bellingham to have a late lunch at the Carriage – yes a railway carriage! The best Paninis ever.