Willow basket making course

This weekend I ran a basket making course with guest 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.

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.

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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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.

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.