Thursday, 11 September 2014

Holy wells, wood and a bowl

Being an humble craftsman, holidays are usually taken in a tent. This year we went up to North Devon.  We enjoyed a gift from our American friends, the tail end of hurricane Bertha, which added to scenic value. Larger waves and the challenge of standing on the cliffs for any length of time.
Anyway enough of the Englishmans favourite topic, and back to business. My wife and I enjoy walking and searching out beautiful, or historic spaces, so in North Devon we found ancient Holly wells that date back to the mists of time. I also like to find a bit of fallen or cut wood to make a spoon or two out of.

So the first are from St Nectan's well in Stoke very near to Hartland.
Made from very slow grown oak. I do not usually make eating spoons from oak, but they do have a lovely grain.




 This is the Holy well at Welcombe, again next to a St Nectan's church. A dead branch of willow was found and a small scoop made. Dead willow can have a beautiful golden glow to it with a graduation of other colours. This willow was well and truly seasoned and beginning to rot in places.

Stonemasons use to carve beautiful headstones, these had a grace of proportion and design to them. some of the inscriptions can sometimes be a bit toe curling. I took these photos as a possible starting point or chip carving designs
 




Contrast the old ones to the modern headstone.  There must be a niche for stonemasons to create something far better and individual.

I cannot go on holiday without looking in shops that sell old stuff. I found this little gem in one such place. Asking its province was told it was probably olive or something from the east. It is sycamore and the marks on it tell me that it was turn on a pole lathe from an axed out blank. It is not perfect in form, the bottom being too thick and the walls rather thick in places. Who knows how old it is.