,

Tapping into Nature: Woodland Artisan Courses

Guest Blog from our course leader Chris on the recent Birch Sap course. As I slowly get to know other wood carvers around the country I’m becoming aware that everyone has their speciality – some people make spoons, others cups, some people make incredibly intricate wooden jewellery while others build houses out of logs. This has got me wondering what my speciality is within the world of wood working. At present I make spoons, cooking utensils, cups, bowls, furniture, pendants, tool handles and charcoal while I heat my wooden home by burning wood and also spend time in woodlands foraging for nuts, fruits and edible fungi. I feel that I’m a real generalist incorporating lots of tree related products into my daily life. And maybe that’s my speciality – making a living from trees and the wider woodland that they form, using them to provide a financial income as well as for heat and shelter and for some of the food that helps me survive. Collecting birch sap is another piece of this jigsaw as it serves as a healthy

,

Wooden Tom’s Spoon Carving Photos

On the 10th of October, Wooden Tom returned to hold another popular spoon carving course. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there myself (Missed another spoon carving session! One day I will get to have a go!), but Tom sent us these lovely pictures that I would like to share with you all. Enjoy.

,

Willow Cord: Woodland Artisan Course

Guest blog by Chris Goodman, Course Leader I use timber from trees all the time, whether it’s for building and diy jobs, making spoons or as firewood – it’s an incredible material which lends itself to all sorts of uses. But recently I’m becoming more and more interested in how we can use some of the other parts of trees and I’m increasingly aware that there’s a whole heap of uses for a tree’s protective outer layer – it’s bark. Today we were using the bark from willow to make cord – a tough string or thin rope. During the Spring and Summer when the sap is rising the bark will peel off the stem of willow very readily to provide long fibrous material. Boiled with some ash from the fire for an hour the resulting brown strips of willow have good properties of strength and flexibility. The strips can then be twisted and woven or plaited into cord which is surprisingly strong. And once you’ve made some cord there’s a whole new world of opportunity for what to use

,

Baskets, Baskets, Baskets!

The latest Woodland Artisan Course was a 2 day willow weaving course with the wonderful Willow Weaving Expert Tim Palmer. Tim had previously taught a course for us and we just had to have him back for another! We had a nice mix in the group of beginners and those that had been on Tim’s courses before. The newcomers to weaving were aiming for a simple woven basket, where as the others were tasked with a challenge of a larger with more difficult techniques. Stages for basket weaving: Weave a round base with thin ‘weavers’ around thicker supporting willow (known as slath). Then add in the stakes around to form the structure for the sides when turned upwards. A weave called Waling is then used to strengthen the base and make the whole basket more rigid. The sides can be woven in several different ways such as Randing, Slewing, Pairing, Reverse Pairing, Fitching, Herringbone and Zig-zag. Once the basket is near the desired height another band of waling is completed before the slath are used to create the border for

,

Creating a Highland Cup

The latest course from our Woodland Artisan project was cup carving. Wooden Tom was back to hold another great course, this time using axes, chisels Gouges and knives to carve a Highland cup based on one found in Ardgour on the West Coast created nearly 2000 years ago. We started with a Silver Birch log that requires cutting and splitting to ‘cup size’ and then carving into a finished product. One cup on the day was made from Pine, creating a beautifully stripy cup. Each course attendee got a quarter or half of the original log and, using a guide, the cup shape was marked onto the wood and excess was removed with an axe. Once a rough outline was created the bowl could start being carved – outside first and then the inside using gauges. The lip and handle of the cups were carved last with gauges and knives. Participants each took their cup home which then can be carved with a knife once the green wood has dried. Unfortunately, the winter evenings drew in too quick for us

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to keep informed about the latest news from our projects and upcoming events, training and volunteer opportunities.

Get involved

Find out how you can get involved with the project through events, training and volunteering opportunities