In order concentrate on the courses and the building project, the revised version of Living Wood has been put on hold until the autumn. When it finally arrives next spring (if not before) it will incorporate elements from Green Woodwork and will contain many more photos, all in full colour – worth waiting for.
The whole of July has been taken up with the construction of our new ‘Cruck Room’ at Greenwood Cottage. We were blessed this time with not only with another four inches of rain but also two amazing gangs of volunteers, whose energy and creativity have resulted in what will be a wonderful multi-purpose space which will include teenage sleep-overs, family and guest accommodation, film and slide shows and displaying Tamsin’s beautiful stained-glass during Herefordshire Art Week (September 8th to 16th). Tamsin is also taking part in the first exhibition of The Sisterhood of Ruralists’ at St Davids in Pembrokeshire from 10th August to 23rd September.
Tamsin and I had a great day-out to the Lunar Festival in June arriving just in time to see the stage debut of The Cowboy Bodgers (Tom, my assistant in 2011 and Owen from this year) performing a short set of songs including several that Tom wrote while in the woods last year. (You can find his website here)
I then made a guest appearance at their green woodworking shelter with some questionable help from a bunch of youngsters…
I promised my friend Chris that I would mention a ground-breaking co-operative wood-fuel project, which is looking for investors, so do spend a few minutes looking through this short film
Coming up in August is the much-heralded Spoonfest, organised by Robin Wood together with my assistant from 2009, Barn-the-spoon. I shall be demonstrating an alternative to the usual knife techniques by shaping two spoons from one long blank using the lumberhorse, a drawknife and a gouge. Next year Barn will be running a full 6-day spoon-making course in our wonderful Brookhouse Wood workshop, which will be included in our programme for 2013.
By the end of July I shall be back at Brookhouse with my crew of cheerful and skilful assistants for the summer batch of courses. We have had far more cancellations than usual, so there are still a few places available on one or two courses, so please give us a ring if you might be interested.
Despite the poor weather, we have so far held four successful courses, thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm and skill of my assistants, Owen, Jack and Synnove. We developed an ‘Irish-satin’ weave making use of Danish cord (in both natural and black) as a very effective alternative to the bark-seating. On one of the courses it was a pleasure to have three generations from the same family. We also seem to have been accepted into the woodland by the local wildlife, with a family of thrushes being reared in the entrance to the washroom and a family of wrens making their home under the dry cover of our dining area.
The final stages of the winter drought coincided with the first with the first of our Development weeks at the end of March. Although my main memory is of idyllic lunchtimes sunbathing on the ‘verandah’ we did manage to produce a couple of stacks of firewood and a new bender, while Roger and Frank created an excellent new warm-box for drying the chair parts. By contrast, he second Development week at the end of April, was ‘blessed’ with over two inches of rain, which was appreciated at least by the long-suffering trees. Despite that we managed to produce five more firewood stacks as well as a magnificent dining table by Owen and Fergus and their helpers. I sincerely hope that August and September will finally give us the opportunity to put this fabulous piece of furniture to proper use during the courses.