Saturday 22 December 2018

Samhain 2017.

Hi all, it's been a while since I've sat in front of the Mac to write to this blog.
I have written un-politically here in the past, but I must say the vote for 'Brexit' took the wind from my sails somewhat.
I've been determined to get out and about during 2017 and was successful in doing so.
Sarah and I have had a super year meeting friends old and new, I've drawn a line under some old projects and started new ones along the way, and I've been supported by some amazing people.


I started the year with a determination to get back into carving larger pieces, Kuksa and Ale hen, I also needed to experiment with ways of naturally stabilising these larger pieces. I needed to sort out a new permission where I could gather materials and clear out one of the old stone pigsties at home where I could sit and work. Along the way Sarah and I also felt the need to get out and about as much as time would allow.


I managed to damage my old light weight tent at the Wilderness Gathering a couple of years ago. I'd used the Vaude Space II for donkeys years. It had been my home on Dartmoor, back packed across France where it was my shelter wild camping on mountain and within woodland, it became my home again motorcycling across France during the early part of the century. It looked after us during the Gathering and finally came to grief on the take down, the summers sunshine over the years took it's toll, that plus the thorn of a wild rose.
Sarah and I always wanted a tipi, a huge one to live in and a smaller, packable one. The extra heigh would reduce the amount of crawling around I have to do when camping. We managed to get the smaller one crossed off the list with a Robens Green Cone.




We took it for a tour of the Southern moor early in the season, the days were wonderfully sunny with spring blue skies and clear chilly starlit nights. 



The tipi was super with hardly any crawling about involved. The outer plus it's centre pole runs in at approx 2 kilos, the inner brings it up to 5kilos. We took the inner only and it worked well. A bit fiddly putting it up but I'm sure as experience grows the job will become simpler.


We tried it out on the open moor and under canopy in a small woodland.
The buds are always lagging behind here on Dartmoor compared to the lowlands.


As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to re-visit Kuksa carving with the same three tool arrangement as before but with a new outlook, a new design and solving any stability problems along the way.
I admit to adding one small inexpensive tool to the list to allow me to let in a mouth for my 
Devon Dragon.


A tiny 3mm dia gouge, just the job as it doesn't rip the green fibres as a drill might do.
The dragon came about after a friend wanted a 'new Kuksa'. I started carving a bowl with a kind of ale hen tail handle. After a while I thought it a daft idea, it needs a head, of course it does.
It's unusual for me to head for the pencil and paper, but on this occasion I did, I sat and drew the head  design in profile and carried that across to the wood.


Theres a first time for everything and it worked.
From that first Devon Dragon Kuksa came interest from many directions, it seemed to fire the imagination and I've made quite a few over the summer.


They are fun to make, probably the hardest design I've carved to date, I think it's a coming together of everything I've learned over the years.
So the drawing attempt gave me another idea and I set to with the pencil and came up with a design for my spoons.


So, the spooncarving tool kit stays the same and the Kuksa carving tool kit grows by one tool.



Alongside the carving I was in touch with the folk at The Scottish Crannog Centre.


I visited the Scottish Crannog Centre a couple of years ago and was very taken by the work put into the construction of the Crannog itself, not only that, but the demonstrations given by the very committed staff where informative and fun.
I instantly became a fan.
The Crannog is now 20 years old and has just been accredited 'museum' status.

Carving a Dragon Kuksa.

Carving a Dragon Kuksa.  I have been carving Kuksa from green Birch for 15 years or so, I’m self taught. From the beginning, I limited mysel...