Monday, 29 September 2014

'Helping Hand' and the 'Wonky Conker'

On Bideford Quay, Bideford, Devon, UK there is a tree known locally as the 'Wonky Conker' and this is the story of  it's ' Helping Hand' 

Some years before the construction of Bideford Quay it was decided to chop down the mature trees on the riverbank in order to facilitate the building of the new car park. Many trees were sawn down on a Sunday before an outraged public became aware of the destruction.  One brave fellow sat by the “Wonky Conker” to save it from the chainsaws.

A few years later, Torridge District Council got in contact with local artist  John Butler explaining that the “Wonky Conker” was in need of some physical support. Mr Butler designed what he called ‘The Helping Hand’ – a metal prop covered to look like a log wrist with oak used to carve the hand & fingers. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wooden Popsicle by Johnny Hermann

Johnny Hermann is the alter-ego of the craftsman and designer Mauro Savoldi from Milan.
He re-creates the vibrant, colourful magic of summer ices in objects of minimal design, recalling one of the sweetest and most nostalgic treasures of our past.

The original popsicle was invented by an 11-year-old boy in San Francisco in 1905 – and by a strange coincidence it was a piece of wood that made the whole story possible! 
Childhood memories and fresh emotions are fused in the shape and materials of these creations.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The 'Predator' project: Mirrored sculptures making human forms blend with surroundings

Vestige 2009 ~  Rob Mulholland

The artist Rob Mulholland made these figures with mirrored stainless steel and has designed similar installations for the forest trail around Loch Ard in David Marshall Lodge near Loch Lomondare  Aberfoyle, Scotland. Mr Mulholland said:  ‘The idea behind the installations was to convey the changes that have occurred in the landscape over the last few hundred years.

ˈvɛstɪdʒ/    noun       1a trace or remnant of something that is disappearing or no longer exists

Before the First World War this area of Scotland was open hillside with small sheep farming Crofts [ farms ] and rural communities. The crofters were moved to other land by the government as there was a desperate need for timber after the war. The area was planted with fast growing conifer trees suitable for harvesting softwood and the landscape altered once again.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Swimmer by Stephanie Rocknak

This amazing piece was completed by Stephanie Rocknak in 2007. It was carved from a single piece of basswood and is slightly larger than lifesize. It is part of a 3-piece commission, The Triathlete. The other two pieces include The Biker and The Runner.

Each Triathlete piece shows a sense of movement. As Rocknak tells us, "These days, I am not very interested in sculpted figures, or real people, that 'strike a pose.' I am much more intrigued by folks who are on their way to or from somewhere. They seem more genuine to me."

Friday, 4 July 2014

Self Sorting (sorta) Bin

I stumbled across this neat little hardware organiser on Craftster and just had to share. It fascinated me for it's simplicity of construction and the fact that it can be adapted and utilised for other bits 'n' bobs that need organising and separating in the craft world.

This was created by a guy who goes by the name of  Wulf  working as a theatrical prop builder and from Toronto. Although this design is fairly basic to look at you could go to any lengths with the woodwork to make it look fancy.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Praying Chinese Monk Leaves His Footprints Ingrained in Wooden Floor

HuaChi, a simple monk from China, has achieved something that only few are able to – he has left a mark in this world, quite literally. The pious man has knelt to pray in the exact same spot for nearly 20 years. He’s performed the ritual so many times that his footprints are deeply ingrained in the wooden floor of his temple, in the monastery town of Tongren, in Qinghai Province.

The highly disciplined monk follows a never-changing routine – he arrives at the temple steps every day before sunrise, places his feet on the footprints and prostrates a thousand times in prayer. Having done this for two decades, the wood beneath his feet has softened considerably, transforming into perfect footprints that are 1.2 inches deep.
When Hua Chi was younger, he would prostrate 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. “But I have grown older, so in recent years I have only done around 1,000 each day,” he said. Sometimes, during winter he can only manage 500. But even that is seriously impressive. After completing his prayers, he walks around the temple as well.

70-year-old Hua Chi hopes that his dedication and commitment towards his prayers will help him achieve a smooth transition to the afterlife. According to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, the spirit goes through a process after death that determines it’s future – either nirvana or a return for rebirth. “I reconstructed this temple and have prayed and walked around the temple all these times so that after my death my spirit will not suffer,” said Hua Chi, who is also a doctor of traditional medicine.

His devotion is now a source of inspiration to the younger monks at the temple, which is located inside Rongwo Gonchen Gompa, an important Tibetan monastery in Tongren. The monastery is centuries old; it dates back to the year 1301. It is home to hundreds of monks who study Buddhist scriptures.

29-year-old monk Genden Darji is one of Hua Chi’s most ardent followers. He has spent several days admiring the older monk’s determination and wishes to carry forth the tradition by stepping into his footprints some day. “Every day I come here and every day I look at the piece of wood, and it has inspired me to continue to make the footprints myself,” said Darji.

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Bloodwood Tree

I wonder why it's called a 'Bloodwood' tree ?

Below is a picture of the Bloodwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis) it is a deciduous, spreading and slightly flat-crowned tree with a high canopy. It reaches about 15 metres in height, has dark bark and is native to southern Africa. Bloodwood is also a name given to a native Australian variety (Corymbia Terminalis) and a genus of plants in the mulberry family (Brosimum Rubescens) native to tropical regions of the Americas and used for decorative woodworking.

Bloodwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis)
Pterocarpus angolensis is a kind of teak native to southern Africa, known by various names such as Kiaat, Mukwa, and Muninga. It is also called the Bloodwood tree, so named for the tree’s remarkable dark red coloured sap. A chopped trunk or a damaged branch of the tree starts dripping deep red fluid, almost like a severed limb of an animal. The sticky, reddish-brown sap seals the wound to promote healing.

The red sap is used traditionally as a dye and in some areas mixed with animal fat to make a cosmetic for faces and bodies. It is also believed to have magical properties for the curing of problems concerning blood, apparently because of its close resemblance to blood. The tree is also used for treating many medical conditions such as ringworm, stabbing pains, eye problems, malaria, blackwater fever, stomach problems and to increase the supply of breast milk.

The wood makes high-quality furniture, as it can be easily carved, glues and screws well and takes a fine polish. It shrinks very little when drying from the green condition, and this quality, together with its high durability, makes it particularly suitable for boat building, canoes and bathroom floors.
Because of its great value to the indigenous peoples of the central and southern Africa, these trees are being harvested at an unsustainable rate leading to its decline in recent decades.

Watch the video below of the sawing of a Bloodwood tree.