Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A basket made while out walking

Today while out for a walk, I collected a variety of natural materials suitable for use in making a simple basket.

I used willow wands twisted together to make the frame of the basket and Reed Mace/Bull Rush leaves (see picture below) woven to form the basket.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Willow basket making course

This weekend I ran a basket making course with quest instructor Jo Hammond. We used various sizes of Willow withys to make the baskets. The willow had been harvested last winter, stored dry and then soaked in water for a few days prior to the course.

Here is Jo teaching students how to start making a basket

and here are some of the baskets made on the course.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Birch Polypore

This is Birch Polypore or Razor Strop fungus which as you might guess, grows on Birch trees.

It is called razor Strop fungus because historically slices of the fungus were cut and used to strop razors and knives when sharpening them.

A thin layer on the underside of the fungus can be removed and used as a self-adhesive plaster.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Saami People

In my previous post I referred to the Saami People, the native people of Lapland. To learn more about them, their lives and the problems and challenges they face please view the following 6 short films on YouTube entitled; "Last Yoik in Saami Forests".







Saturday, 20 October 2007

Reindeer leather pouches

Today I have been working with Reindeer leather, making pouches like the ones you can see below.

I bought the leather from one of the stall holders here at Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland in February this year. The market is an annual event that has been taking place for over 400 years and traditional it was where the Saami people would gather to trade their goods.

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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Smaller Birch bark containers

You can also make some really nice Birch bark containers as well. Here are a couple I have made recently.

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This picture also features a Birch cup I made and a bone sewing kit I made for stitching the bark containers.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Birch Bark

Birch bark is an amazing material to work with. Unfortunately the quality of bark in the UK is not good so I collect mine from either Canada or Lapland. I have used it to make some really nice baskets and knife sheaths. If you do not have Birch bark available, strips of cereal packets make a really good substitute.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Kuksa completed

I've just completed my Kuksa. I estimate it has taken about 6 hours to make it. I made it out of a piece of Cherry and in the picture below, the kuksa is standing on the other half of the log that I carved it from and the tools I used.

Traditionally they are carved out of a Birch bur, but using half a split log producing just as good a result.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

making a kuksa

Using a piece of Cherry I was given last weekend, I am making a kuksa (a traditional wooden cup used in Scandinavia.

I'm using instructions produced by my friend Jon Ridgeon on his website http://www.bushcraft.ridgeonnet.com/Kuksa%20tutorial.htm

I even had a couple of Common Darter dragonflies coming to inspect my work.

I will post picture once my kuksa is completed.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Green Wood Working

Once a month I join a group of friends at a local wood to practise our green wood working skills.

Here I am using a pole-lathe to turn a green piece of Yew into bearing blocks for bow-drill sets.

This is a spoon carved by one of my friends. Notice the intricate pattern on the handle that he has carved using the tip of his knife.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Snowtrail Dogcamp

While in Lapland I stayed at the Snowtrail Dogcamp and learned how the dogs are trained when there is no snow on the ground. The sledge is replaced by a quad bike.

At the end of January I will be returning to the dogcamp to learn how to work with the dogs, sledding in the snow and harsh winter temperatures.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Lapland mammals

There are a variety of large mammals in Lapland including Brown Bear, Lynx, Moose and of course Reindeer. Here is a picture of a small group near to my cabin.

There were also some beautiful sunsets and a fantastic display of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) .

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

My first post

I have just returned from a two week trip to my cabin in Swedish Lapland, where I have been practising and developing my skills.

Here is a picture of my cabin, showing the cabin, sauna house and boat house.

I also have the fishing rights to the lake.