Well, it was hot and sticky in the marquee – very!! But it was made enjoyable by the delightful live harpist playing in the same section of the marquee as me. Not sure that the heat and humidity could have been good for the instrument but the resulting music brought a smile to everyone. I’m back there again today (through till Monday), though I’m not sure the harpist will be – I think it might be different music each day. If you want to see me, or hear the music, then come ot RHS Hyde Hall. As well as the large craft fair (about 200 stalls) there are some amazing gardens. A great day out.
Thursday afternoon and all set up (with more than a little help from a friend – thank you, John) and ready for the Craft Fair at RHS Hyde Hall – 10.00 till 5.00, Friday through till Monday. Just hope it’s not quite as hot and humid over the next few days as the marquee was a bit like a sauna this afternoon.
This little lot is all Yew which came originally from Knebworth House when they had to take down a diseased tree. I never like to see Yew go to waste, so it has now been ‘upcycled’ and is about to go back up to Knebworth House into their gift shop. Just in time (pardon the pun!!) for Father’s day and a jousting tournament that is being staged this weekend.
Should be fun – anybody fancy a day out?
I’ve had company in the workshop lately, but all is now quiet. Nestled up in the rafters, among some old coiled up cables, has been a clutch of newly hatched wrens. The parents have been back and forth busily all day every day bringing in tiny morsels, to the accompaniment of much squawking each time food arrives. But all is now quiet – they have fledged. We still see the (parent?) wrens around, but busy as they were. This has been the second year that they have nested in this spot – at lease, we assume it is the same adults. For next year (if I remember)’ I’ll perhaps move the piece of foam (in to the top of the picture) up marginally and rig up a camera trap to capture some of the activity.
It all seems quite strange – I got used to the regular noises as they were being fed and to ducking my head as I went in and out so as to avoid their ‘air-space’. It all feels rather lonely now!
Been out collecting again – beats shopping at Tesco anytime! This is a large ‘lump’ of Beech that has started to spalt quite nicely. Went down to rural Dorset early this morning to collect this little beauty and have it cut into 3″ slabs for me. As you can see from the final picture, there is some wonderful figuring in this log. Some of the edges are a bit soft and will just be waste – but what would you expect with a log that has started to decay!
Of the sound timber, most will end up as large pepper mills (and maybe a few smaller pairs of salt & pepper). I might also make the odd bowl or two from a couple of slabs that are only 2″ thick – logs are never an exact thickness, so it’s a matter of making the most out of what’s there. Nick, who was cutting this for me, knows his wood and how to get the best out of a rough old log that look nothing on the outside.
Also came back with some Yew, so watch this space!
Well, I’m all ready to go for the Hertfordshire County Show this weekend. Even the weather is set to be reasonable, which is good news. It’ll be the first time I’ve done this show, so I’m not sure what to expect but it seems well organised. I’ll be demonstrating in the ‘Made in Hertfordshire’ marquee if you want to come and see. Should be great fun and lots for the whole family. Lots of humongous farm machinery to interest the dads and the kids, lots of animals (with babies), not to mention the rather appealing Farmers Bar Restaurant, conveniently located adjacent to my marquee!
Hopefully, see you there…
Not quite panic, but it’s all a bit chaotic as I get ready for my first fair of the year. Chaos on the workbench as I try and get the last few things finished and chaos in the house as I try and get them priced and packed up ready to take with me. The fair may not start until Saturday, but I am going to do most of my setting up tomorrow. All have to be bubble-wrapped before being put in my storage boxes and some I want to photograph first for this new website. If you look carefully at the indoor picture, you can also see bowls and mills still being oiled in the spare bedroom!
If you want to see me at the Herts Show, then I’ll be in the ‘Made in Hertfordshire’ marquee.
Finally finished oiling, assembling and pairing my latest batch of mills. All with over a week to spare before my first show – The Hertfordshire County Show at Redbourn on 28/29th May. The ones on the right are a new shape. Any suggestions for a name? The look a bit like tin soldiers, or even Chinese. For the moment, I’m going to call them my ‘Mandarins’.
It may have been a large batch, but the numbers have already been depleted. Just sold 2 pairs via the website and another pair have been earmarked for our own dinner table – I took our previous pair to the Christmas market last year as a sample pair and sold them! Indeed, two ladies from North London who were visiting the market together nearly fell out over who was going to have them…
All the turning done – just need to oil them and fit the mechanisms. Similar mills can be seen in the gallery, but the keen-eyed may notice a new shape. Never done a batch as large as this all in one go, and it did get a bit like a treadmill towards the end. I think that next time it will be a couple of smaller batches with some ‘variety’ in between!