Saturday, 28 February 2009

Westonbirt, Festival of the tree.


This is large Woodfair at the national arboretum and includes a chainsaw carving sculpture demo and action. I buy a bigger pitch here so we can put our bell tent on our stall.
They do have a camping field but the caravans seem to take all the level pitches and I hate camping on a slope.










It was great to have the same pitch as last year as we were opposite Brain Williamson, an old friend, we have both spent many years demonstrating at various shows and with the Devon Rural Skills Trust. Brian has had an apprentice, Ruth, for at least a year so far. It’s great to see more women get into woodland crafts as it seem that most woodfair's are very male dominated.

Brian had invited Steve along to share his stall; he is one of Britain’s very few pole lathe bowl turners and a very good spoon maker, check out his web site. Brain and Ruth are coppice workers making anything from hazel and chestnut hurdles to besom brooms and tent pegs etc. (As a side note - the besoms broom is one of the best brooms you can use, both on tarmac/ concrete to grass lawns. When used correctly they are fast and efficient, they beat the pants off yard brooms and are 100% green and sustainable, carbon neutral etc.) Brain works quite a bit at the arboretum and was making chestnut shingles for a new timber framed building. I showed Steve how to make spinning wings or helicopters out of a stick and a propeller. This is made from a plank 7 inches by 1 inch and is about ¼ inch thick. The balance needs to be just right and the stick needs to be very straight. Once mastered they are quick to make and make a great demonstration at a show. They are a great toy to play with and are for adults too! Watch the video.



I can highly recommend Brain, and his web site can be found at www.westcountrycoppice.co.uk and Steve can be found at www.steve-tomlin.co.uk











One of the big attractions of this show is the chainsaw sculptors carving a huge log each in only one week. I have got to know a few of them over the years, often around the fire in the evening. One of them is Anthony Rogers at http://www2.clikpic.com/anthonyrogers/index.html. I love his work and have also seen him and them at places like WOMAD and the Mythic Garden. Not only do I love his forms but his specialty is surface decoration, check out his work.

Another of the sculptors is Neil Reeves, it was his first time at the Sculptree event as he usually exhibits and sells his works. Maybe I will try and see if I can get selected to carve in the next year or so. http://www.bronzewoodart.co.uk/ .










Sometimes I think I am a public seating provider for the weary.

I have also been opposite Sue Hinton for a couple of years, she makes gypsy flowers. They are made from hazel 'sun shoots' on a great looking horse, the pictures show Sue starting a flower.



























This year I was a couple of stands up from Dan, he was selling very large furniture and carvings. A very interesting craftsman who was horse drawn for a number of years. What really attracted me was his gypsy flower set up and he taught me how to make his style of flowers. More about this in another article. Why, why did I not take any photos.