Thursday, 25 December 2014

World Tree, Fly Agaric, Getting Pissed, Flying Reindeer, Santa Claus

Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, most of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian northern Europe.

The World Tree

Ancient peoples, including the Lapps of modern-day Finland, and the Koyak tribes of the central Russian steppes, believed in the idea of a World Tree. The World Tree was seen as a kind of cosmic axis onto which the planes of the universe are fixed. The roots of the World Tree stretch down into the underworld, its trunk is the "middle earth" of everyday existence, and its branches reach upwards into the heavenly realm.

The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white Amanita muscaria, also known as "fly agaric." This mushroom commonly is seen in books of fairy tales and usually is associated with magic and fairies. It contains potent hallucinogenic compounds once used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences. Most of the major elements of the modern Christmas celebration, such as Santa Claus, Christmas trees, magical reindeer and the giving of gifts, are originally based upon the traditions surrounding the harvest and consumption of this most sacred mushroom.

Amanita muscaria grows only under certain types of trees, mostly firs and evergreens. The cap of the mushroom is the fruit of the larger mycelium beneath the soil which exists in a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the tree. To ancient people, this mushroom was literally "the fruit of the tree."

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Wild Horses of Newbury

During the infamous anti road building protests at Newbury, England in 1996-1997, Mark Carroll made a short film called 'The Wild Horses of Newbury'

A very moving short film of the moment when two wild horses intervene in the chopping down of two ancient oak trees to build a bypass, poetry by Mark Carroll.

'The Wild Horses of Newbury' was shot very early on a single morning in February.
The whole episode only lasted a few minutes.. nothing was staged.
The bypass security guards and police had circled two very old Oak trees and were preparing to chop them down, when two scruffy, seemingly wild horses appeared and began to interfere with the felling.

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.