Back from Derbyshire


I’ve just returned from an excellent bowl-carving course run by Robin Wood in Edale, Derbyshire.

I went via Halifax which I must say, I’d forgotten contains some fine stone buildings:

The course was held in the tidy little village hall and I stayed in the YHA with a couple of other course members.

Mind you it didn’t stay tidy for long – seven people hacking away at logs carving swedish bowls for two and a half days produced quite a good number of sacks of shavings.

Robin is an inspired and inspirational teacher and I’m sure everyone had a great time, if they got as much out of it as did I. We all produced decent bowls and learnt important techniques.

I made a couple of curvy bowls, I am very pleased with the second, boat-shaped one. A little more work needed but the form is there.

An important part of the course was learning how the look at what you’re working on and what are the essential parts to concentrate on, like the main lines of the form, if you want to find out more book onto one of Robin’s courses, he also runs spoon making courses which are a little less physically demanding and a good introduction to the joys of making useful things with your hands from green wood. You can buy tools from him too,

read books and chat over tea, coffee biscuits and excellent home-made lunches served on wooden ware and eaten with wooden spoons, even the tea and coffee containers deserve close study:

I also met a bunch of very interesting people with common interests

All in all an excellent outing. Expect extravagant hand carved bowls coming to this blog soon!



What a great place for an afternoon out,  Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton Hall.  Even found an oversized froe:

There was some stunning marble sculpture work by Peter Randall Page.

Some were outside, and there were lots inside (no photography!)

Well worth a visit, and I’m looking forward to the exhibition of David Nash’s work from May 2010.  Amazingly solid sculptures in wood like this:

We’ve also been taking a leisurely look at my other favourite, brewing:

This is a Yorkshire Square fermentation vessel at Black Sheep Brewery at Masham, N Yorkshire.  It’s a traditional method of fermentation developed in The West Riding of Yorkshire, using slate slabs and a separate floor near the top where the yeast head collects and then is sprayed with the fermenting beer once an hour.  The old part of the brewery is in the kilning area of a former maltsters:

After Masham we drove down to Lotherton Hall near Leeds.  An intriguing Edwardian furnished mansion.  This piece especially caught my eye, way out of period being 16th century, but much easier on the eye than e.g. the sycamore inlaid grand piano:

There was a pair of really good stools the like of which I’ve never seen before:

Deeply dished seat and three curved legs through tenonned into the seat which was cunningly much thicker in the middle underneath.  Looks really comfortable, but sadly no chance of trying it out without leather trousers as protection.

Spoons and rungs

I’ve been rather busy recently, what with a WWOOFer, an exhibition, making a set of chairs, etc.

Here are some carved spoons from a junk shop in Malton, they seem decidedly foreign, especially the star-shaped hole on the lower one.  The carved decoration is pretty inspirational though; there are mistakes aplenty, which made me think we are now very used to seeing “perfect” (looking) artefacts produced by machines.  Hand -made objects are much more lively.  I now feel more comfortable with the finish on my bowls.  Here’s the detail on the old chip carved letter-opener:

You’d never get a machine to produce work like this and for it to vary each time one was made!

I’ve been feeling a bit like a machine producing rungs for a set of dining chairs, here they all are drying at home:

Once they’re dry I’ll be making the legs, free-form at the back and turned for the front.  I’m also making the splats for the ladder back, three each time I brew (the steamer goes on the brew kettle.)

The exhibition in Strid Exhibition centre, went well

Some interesting work inspired by Strid Wood from a local artist Joy Godfrey and potter Chris Bailey is there as well as some of my furniture:

I’ve added the glass platter as my header for now.

Meanwhile, Autumn draws on with a ground frost this morning and Poached Egg fungi appearing in Strid: