And so the sixth trip out of six to the World of Bushcraft Centre in Bedford had arrived and constituted my last organised outing of both 2016 and indeed my sabbatical (which is taking a bit of getting my head around). As I arrived and saw evidence of pre workshop activity.
There was a hive of behind the scenes activity with a meeting of several instructors happening, Christmas orders being sorted and then I turned up to pin Joseph down for two hours. We had a quick chat and this included a lot of Scout talk as we are both leaders, then he ran through knife safety; he felt a bit silly doing so as I am competant with one but credit to him for sticking to his guns and covering that base anyway. I did say that an individual could give the impression of competancy on social media and be a total liabilty in the flesh so had no problem listening.
We then looked at the previously steam bent Hazel lengths that I saw on the way in, discussed the bending technique and how one should look, and indeed could look with the risk of elbows (angles) forming.
And then over to the homemade steamer to retrieve another Hazel length
Annnd a quick dash to the stump to start working it. I expected wood that had been subjected to steam to be hot but it actually surprised me just how hot the wood was. It certainly made it very biddable though.
We then trimmed and tied off the Hazel to form the frame's shape after tapering both ends to fit snugly together.
And then it was onto systematically loading the foliage onto the frame. In a way it was similar to the Coil basketry workshop in that once the initial prep was done it was doing the same stuff repeatedly, starting with the base foliage which in this case was Leylandii. It's not really a fault but I think that sometimes I'm a bit too precise and methodical with some projects (the Willow basketry workshop springs to mind too) and I spent too long laying down the base foliage.
I decided to spend the remaining time that I had placing the fancier greenery roughly in place and then finishing it off at home, especially as we were losing the light. I'm pleased to say that Joe did make a decent amount of tea for us (for a change!) and we scoffed some Diam bars that I'd brought with them.
As I got ready to depart I briefly saw Jason Ingamells to say 'Hello' to as he moved between meetings and Joe presented me with a gift voucher to book another weekday workshop in recognition of my regular visits during 2016, a nice touch indeed.
After a bit of shaping trimming tying and the addition of some Mistletoe I purchased from Waitrose I now have a fulsome and colourful seasonal wreath loaded with Pagan symbolism!
Suggested further reading:-
Map reading workshop
Coil basketry workshop
Willow basketry workshop
Net making workshop
Bushcraft and Scouting