Thursday, 27 August 2015

Visit to the Dedham Community Farm CO7 6DH 26th August

This potentially new local group is based at a community farm just off the main road into Dedham. They have lots of space and access is gained through the
John Briggs and his friend Peter Comb have been helping various disadvantaged groups of people with the assistance of Zoe Douglas who is an occupational therapist. 

The set-up has lots of potential and they wish to encourage more bodgers to use the space. They currently do Thursdays but have done some Saturdays.

There are all sorts of animals and some very special dogs that are used in the therapy.
If you interested email

There is also ample local food hopping around even during the day!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Leatherworking in Wanstead 25th August

Nearly the end of my holidays, but loads of things still to make. Have been experimenting with pressing patterns in leather for slim friendship bracelets.


This however, is a knife for one of the scout group from the Wilderness gathering.

A really large, very round antler handle on what appears to be a stainless steel blade. 

The blade was set into one side only, at the end it looked like one piece.

It needed a transverse belt loop for the belt strap.

First one of this type I have done.
Might be worth just sewing it to the case with a fixed loop next time.

Experimented with this open top.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Wilderness Gathering West Knoyle Wiltshire 14/16th August

Jim McVittie leader of the Cambridgeshire group based at Wimpole Hall – he has set himself a challenge (started in February) to turn a  bowl a week and he was up to number 39 with this one – so he is doing very well.

Mike Church experimenting with a new design of basket using split Sweet Chestnut.
He attracted a lot of attention during the weekend.

We had a range of weather conditions to – from heavy rain on the Friday (did not however put off the public however) to very hot and sunny on the Saturday.

This was the fruits of his labour – three successful prototypes, a fire fan and two gathering baskets.

Chris Allen (Berkshire group leader) and friends were also keeping us company.

This whale fin kuksas was outstanding.

Chris had a really classy display of high quality, well designed goods.

An interesting busy display.

Great to see Ben and Lois Oford doing so well.
They we giving a range of demonstrations throughout the weekend. They had some really nice handmade textile additions to their normal sales range.

There was a wide range of makers including this needle felter.


This spoon maker had a wide range of shapes and sizes with some interesting variations on spoons and kuksas.

Gary Hull had some very individual knives with very detailed carved sheaths. He also had some iron work made by his 10 year old son.

Scruffy from every event I normally attend was of course making bentwood free-form chairs. 
This rocker was a bit of an experiment.

What a great event this turned out to be. The cleanest and the most well serviced portaloos of any event. Free hot showers for the traders and demonstrators. Plenty of public, good food and drink. Hats off to Roger Harrington and thank you for the invitation.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Richard and Dorothy’s Hop Farm Burwash Sussex addendum

Later that evening Richard resolved the battery problem with some distilled water after opening the bit that says do not open (bit like the out of order lift sign in the Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy?).

I forgot to mention I spoke to Dorothy about their new venture selling their own hops to real ale makers, so check it out and get brewing.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Richard and Dorothy’s Hop Farm Burwash Sussex 8th August

I stopped on the way at The Bell Ticehurst. The outside of the building was almost devoid of interesting features; they were to be found inside.

What appear to be metal dovetails are in fact slices through an African statue base that is in the bar, one of pair the missing one given to the table maker.


Very unusual table legs.

The long bench construction (from the same tree) was also of interest.

The surrounding handrail made locally was also unusual.

I bumped into a local artist who had decorated some areas of the inside.

The Gents toilets were in keeping with the rest of the furnishings!


Mike, Richard and Nessie enjoying the shade for what turned out to be a glorious day, most unlike the last time we visited three years ago; we had to be towed up the landing strip by tractor.


On the edge of Richard’s property was the newly restored railway embankment £5m later. 

Richard took us all on a tour of the hops – they grow many varieties for local (Harvey’s, Hop Back brewery) breweries as well as some from America.

Richard invited me on a microlight flight. He has been flying for a long time and once flew across Australia with Dorothy.

This is the closest I got; we suffered battery failure and never got off the ground.

They were visited by Quaker Oats recently for a film shoot for their next adversing campaign.

Many thanks to Richard and Dorothy for their hospitality. 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Lammas festival Western Lawns Eastbourne 25/6th July


Many hands make light work – James had the short straw.


Some of the border Morris dancers – apparently the blacking up was from goose fat and soot: used to hide the identities of the farm workers who were short of work and begging by singing and dancing.

The Sussex group had an impressive setup and were drawing lots of attention as usual with a wide range of activities.

Plenty of spoon activity.


Mr Nessie practising beads?

Vanessa was pole lathing and her beautiful knitting


Fionn with shaving in full flight – I found it difficult to time the capture of the shavings – these modern digital cameras have minds of their own.

The Henna and Hat Lady had some impressive hats, so much so – it was worth another picture.



The Weatherspoons pub in Cornfields was very well staffed and as you would expect a great range of real ales. The service was amazing – and organised, one some occasion’s one person taking money another pouring drinks.

Unfortunately the weather got the better of the Sunday which was a great shame for the organisers.

I was forced to seek shelter to finish an axe case I was delivering on the way home.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Country Crafts week at Blists Hill Ironbridge Gorge 30th July – 2nd August.

I stopped off on the way from London at this beautiful building in Albrighton Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV7 3LA Good food and local beer.

I stayed in a ‘pod’ perched on the hillside overlooking the Greenwood centre. A bit akin to a gypsy caravan I once travelled in across Ireland many years ago with the senior scouts. It was very nicely finished on the inside.

Greenwood centre / The Small Woods Association headquarters and the venue for the monthly bodger’s meetings.

The local (once coal powered) power station is now fired by wood chip from Canada, the trains run past the site a few times a day.

Tony Newby on his bowl lathe, he also had some very nice spoons for sale.

Great to see a father and son in the group.

Blists Hill is a partly a working museum with some great old shops.

The fish and chip shop fried in lard – I was reading in the Daily Telegraph last week that lard, butter and olive oil are the safest thing to cook with and that sunflower and corn oil were not!


Leather horse shoes for lawn work (avoiding hoof marks) and funerals (noise reduction).

Ken the Puddler (wrought iron production) was in the saddlery making friendship bracelets.

Never really got a posed shot of a group before but they were very enthusiastic -

The West Midlands group on their Sunday meet.

We went on a foraging expedition with the crew

Corrinne made it look so easy, must give it try.

I bumped into Richard Weaver on Sunday who may well be a potential addition to our committee.

This was my second visit to Blists Hill, what a great set-up with so much of our heritage saved in such an appropriate venue.  Many thanks to Bob and the group for their invitation – can’t wait to do that again. Thanks to the Small Woods association for the use of their facilities, that lovely hot water and kitchen as well as the BBQ on Saturday.