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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Green Earth Crafts

There is a wonderful artist based in Belfast who creates some stunning pieces in resin, textiles and ceramics

Her work is always nature inspired and consists of bespoke pieces and limited edition runs.

Quirky and original, her work is in great demand in Holland, Germany and most recently Japan.
If you are interested in seeing more of her creations check out Green Earth Crafts on Facebook or Instagram.

Shaggy parasol mushroom

A really nice find recently was this shaggy parasol mushroom.

Although classed as edible this mushroom does contain some toxins that can cause some serious stomach upsets in people even after it has been cooked so it maybe best to avoid it just in case.

The gills are white and if bruised they can turn a slight tinge of pinky red, the spore print is pale cream.

As with most mushrooms gathered for food, if in doubt..leave it out !

Amanita muscaria - fly agaric

Of all the mushrooms found on earth this is the most iconic, seen in every fairy tale book and pictured in every outdoor book. The red and white fungi is very striking and not easily confused with anything else

Although classed as poisonous it rarely ever caused death through ingestion needing around 14 caps of concentrated muscimol for a fully grown adult.

It's well documented about shamans using this after being filtered through reindeer urine but an even more interesting lecture was presented by Thomas J Reidlinger in 1999 to the Mycomedia millennium conference where he postulates that it was fly agaric that caused the warp spasms of the Ulster hero CuChulainn.

If you can get a hold of his presentation it makes remarkably interesting reading.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Amethyst Deceiver

These lovely little mushrooms appear in forests at this time of year..

And although edible most people don't regard them very highly, luckily I'm not most people. I've had them in omelettes quite often and I really like them, but then as purple is my favourite colour it's no wonder I like them.

Purple is the colour of magic and royalty and Irish legend had it that these little mushrooms got their purple colour when Iubdán, king of the fairies of Ulster, touched the stem of a white mushroom when he sheltered underneath one in a heavy rainstorm, being fairy royalty and a possessor of fairy magic the mushroom turned purple and they have remained so ever since.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Chaga meme

A very special lady in my life bought me a very special shirt, I hope you like it. Lol

Monday, 4 September 2017

Broc Knives - Wee Ruby

Davy recently commissioned something special from Broc Knives of Banbridge, Northern Ireland. It wasn't just another knife, this one was a memorial piece dedicated to his mother, Ruby, who had unfortunately passed away a little before hand.
 Davy asked that a vial of his mother's ashes be incorporated into the tang and enclosed by the micarta scales, this was done very sensitively by the maker and the resultant knife can be seen below.

The knife came in a beautiful presentation box with a birth certificate and a certificate of authenticity, it carries a lifetime guarantee to the original owner.

And the knife itself, aside from the incredibly personal attachment it has for Davy is something rather beautiful in itself. The knife is made from O1 tool steel and the heat treatment is carried out in house at the Broc knives workshop, it comes clothed in a beautifully made 3mm thick leather sheath with removable dangler, both sheath and blade are stamped with the Broc logo.

The tang has a cut out to house the ashes and the handle is a micarta and fibre 4 layer composite, the outer being a lovely ivory bone colour, the handle is secured with epoxy and corby rivets and a brass lanyard hole. It's fit and finish is superb, beautiful contours and an incredibly ergonomic grip that defies the worry of hot spots with prolonged use. It is beautifully finished.

The plunge and the bevels are perfectly symmetrical and a testament to the skill of the maker, rarely if ever have I seen a grind as meticulously finished as this one, a remarkable feat of craftsmanship.

Although a knife is an incredibly personal item I believe that the sign of a well designed cutting tool is one that can be used comfortably by a multitude of users regardless of hand size or skill level and this blade proved itself to be just that. I started by carving a small jam spoon then moved on to the ubiquitous feather sticks

Davy also did this

The spine is perfectly square and throws great sparks of a Ferro rod

And the one thing we all use our knives for more than wood carving is food prep and this tool excels at this also

All in all this is a remarkable knife and one of the most perfectly finished knives I have ever handled, after 3 months of use it hasn't had to go near a stone as a strop takes care of edge reconditioning easily and brings it up to hair popping sharp again. The knife is a complete work of art and a delectable item to hold and use, the fact of its personal connection just makes it all the more heart warming to the owner. A magnificent blade, exemplary craftsmanship and a heart felt momento to always help Davy remember his mother and to have her close by.. a fitting tribute to a lovely lady from a true craftsman,

From Broc Knives we give you - Wee Ruby.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Fidget spinner bowdrill

One of the main stumbling blocks to good bowdrill technique is a decent bearing block. Now you're not going to find fidget spinners growing off a tree but for practise and muscle memory they are worth using..

Use which ever shape of spinner you like and shape the spindle to fit the bearing

Get your kit together and practise.. we are trying to develop a way to help people with joint problems do bow drill as assuming the form is very difficult if you have bad knees or a bad back..

The ember isn't hard to can also go slightly more traditional by putting the bearing in a piece of antler

Top one was hazel on lime by Davy, second one was me with willow on willow..