Its been a hectic time since my last post. Last Saturday was the Sheffield woodfair so I was turning bowls and again racing my bowl lathe against Mikes electric lathe, a rerun of the popular "man against machine" race we have done for 3 years. Nicola did a youtube clip of last years race here.
To be fair I am a full time bowl turner and Mike whilst being a full time turner only turns bowls at demonstrations, I do think it is good though to show that these old crafts are still useful efficient ways of producing things in the 21st century. Most rural crafts are demonstrated more as "this is how it was done in the old days" when things happened slowly and people were dim, hard working but inefficient.
Sunday was our first proper day off for several weeks though I had the lathe and everything to unpack from the van. Then its been a busy week using a mobile sawmill to cut timber for my woodshed and getting ready for our spooncarving course which ran from Friday to Sunday.
This has been our first year advertising a range of spooncarving courses and we have been surprised how popular they have been with most being fully booked well in advance. It has also been a real pleasure to meet so many folk and share with them the joy of making something useful for the kitchen or table from a real raw material. We get so few oportunities in life today to work with raw materials like clay dug from the ground or wood from a tree, everything comes prepared and packaged, to go from these raw materials to a finished object with your own hands and simple tools realy is very fulfiling experience.
Each course we run I try to improve and learn my teaching technique, for a while I have taught the principles of sharpening knives and axes but but this time we introduced a hands on sesion at the end where everyone sharpened their own knives using a simple sharpening block they took home with them along with their knives. So everyone left with not only the skills to carve but a new knife, some wood and having lost that fear that many folk have about sharpening a good knife for the first time. We are quite proud of the high proportion of folk who have been on our courses that cary on carving when they get home.