“To practice any art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” Kurt Vonnegut
let there be spoons
I’m beginning to see the shining light of these encouraging words as I stumble forward on my new journey. The momentum has taken over and I have no choice but to follow my self like a moth to the light. I might be cut and bleed but I won’t be burnt by that to which I’m drawn.
My past year has been relatively quiet on the blogging front as other interests have successfully lessened my screen time. That is not to say that I didn’t often think about writing about what I was doing. No, it just didn’t feel right, yet. Now is that time.
I have always been into wood. Wood feels good. Either I was carving walking sticks or a bit of relief carving and I knew and felt that that was something I should become more serious about, but never did. Other things occupied my life and a long while elapsed without wood. Then a couple of years ago I got into it again with an evening sculpting course. I loved that and recognized a new like, however sculpting didn’t have the hook nor I the talent I wanted to combine and my enthusiasm wore and then waned.
my first ugly duckling spoon
It was through the various Youtube channels and whatnot that I one day came across a spoon. A simple wooden spoon. Someone had made it and that someone demonstrated how to make one. I can do that I thought to myself and before I knew it I had laboriously and rather in-expertly crafted my first functional wooden. It was Magnolia wood, wasn’t pretty but it was usable.
A few months passed and I began to collect bits of wood, larger pieces, branches and log sections as I read up on and watch this or that youtube clip on how to work green wood into usable things. This new spark of curiosity caught and had begun to glow warm. And it’s heat increased my desire to learn more, try more and do this.
early efforts and means
As with first steps for any venture I soon learned what would help me along and soon fell head over heals in love with Swedish steel and touted wizards of wickedly sharp blades. Mora, Gransfors Bruk, Svante Djarv and Hans Karlsson now make up my Swedish heavy metal team. A truly special bit of hardware comes from Wales by the one and only Nic Westermann who forges superbly crafted bowl blades among other edged goodness.
basic joy & happiness kit
Nic Westermann TWCA cam and Finishing blade goodness
It took a little while to finetune my desired kit, discover my direction and learn what it meant to feel the passion but I think I’m on the right track. Wood simply makes me feel good.
warped and twisted lessons
And it is confirmed every time I spend time making chips, making a mistake, creating something beautiful, seeing a form develop, smelling the sweet near almond like smell of fresh cherry wood or the scent of apple when roughing out new spoon blanks. It is an intoxicating endeavour.
coffee sips get cold when making chips
Seems every waking moment is filled with only thoughts of wood, where to get it, what to do with it and spending time doing just that. It’s a happy thing and I’m thankful for feeling that way. Joy is in the simple things.
vivid juniper surprise
At this point of the journey I’m not as skilled as I want to be but I’m on my sloyd way. Sundry wood stock is stacked in the shop, metal edges honed to this side of fear, the good wood releases new forms that function and chips are flying.
pear spirit sipper
Wood is good. May your hands be strong and your blades wicked sharp.
Image if you will … it’s 20:15 on a Sunday evening in Germany. Anywhere in Germany. Anywhere at all in Germany really. The show is on. Tatort. The familiar flickering of the super sized boob tubes cast their long familiar ambient spells and stun their captive audience into a mute fascination. It begins …
It’s only TV I know … and TV is furniture but it’s the fun kind of furniture to sit and watch. Germans love watching their TVs. Especially on Sunday evenings when Germany’s longest running crime series airs. Tatort first aired in November 29, 1970 and continues to this day.Funny thing is I remember this show from it’s black and white days when I was still a younger lad.
And I believe that now that I’ve begun to settle into the weekly viewing habit, and rather anticipating the next show that I’m beginning to become more German. You see, it’s tradition in many households to watch this sometimes riveting crime scene murder investigation.
Watch Tatort on Sundays and investigate together here with us at 20:15
And yes it is a little different than the run of the mill ‘mercan crime shows. I find that this show in particular makes the viewer think a bit as she/he tries to figure out the current case and what makes this show rather interesting is the fact that often an unanticipated twist takes you places you weren’t anticipating. That’s one of the reasons I like the show.
No, I don’t always like the episodes but that’s to be expected but I’ve come to like this or that detective duo and the particular chemistry that make them work, or not work.
And in the months preceding my move back to Germany a couple of years ago, I used Youtube to watch as many of the online shows as I could to get the language back into my ear and head. Now that that’s in there my Sunday evenings are scheduled, ha.
It’s always interesting to discover what kind of a story and writers came up with. See you on the couch next Sunday evening; German style.
Dense fog and moisture in the air, dewy wetness on all things still green and those turning color too.Rusting leafy foliage falling away baring their now stark treed host. Dried corn plants shuffling their crinkly leaves await the harvesters blade and the pale early morning sky fuzzy misted over as the sun begins to burn through with a cool and bright effort. And pumpkins dotting this or that field or ornamenting this or that farmer stand or door steps.
Yup, it’s fallish out there folks.
And I’ve got a hankerin’ to be out there, to spend time in the thinning woods. Where green turns to rust and mushrooms show themselves off against the leaf littered forest floor, some pretty, some ugly and all of them fascinating.
Yesterday I gave in to that hankering and hunkered down the evening before to prepare my daypack for a short day trip into the local deciduous woods. The air felt fresher, the temperatures chillier and my step quicker so as to generate a bit more body temperature even though my wool mix hoodie kept me snug and warm.
It being a Saturday morning, the forest lanes and roadways (this is Germany and the woods are crisscrossed with ‘Waldwege’) were empty. I had the place mostly to myself. And as I often do, I wondered where the wild boars were. But most of all I was anticipating my first cup of outside coffee.
If you’ve ever made a delicious cup of hot coffee outside you may know the pleasure I speak of. No, not a cup of instant crap but the real ma-coy, boiling water poured into a coffee filter over a large cup. The result a brew so good that it nearly blends into the surrounding beauty. Ah ok, so the heady scent of a freshly brewed cup of java out there is kinda out of place as it were but it does the body good. If you prefer a good hot cup of tea would also do the trick I suppose but coffee is my choice for moments like that.
I spent some time looking around and gathering a bit of firewood, smallish bits and processed them into suitable sizes to accommodate my Bush Boxmulti fuel pocket stoves’ small size and then set to building the fire that would boil the water that would release the intense flavored coffee into my cup and then my mouth. It took a little while but the time spent doing the work was well worth the efforts.
By the time my cup was filled, the sun had begun to shine on the spot I’d selected for the coffee ritual.
I just returned from the village store. I took a few cold beers from their fridge, the coldest beers around. I like that. It’s summer. Three beers. Having a store in the village rocks. It is convenient for me, only a … Continue reading →
Dear Israel, you’ve disappointed the world. Again.
In a caged strip of land called Gaza, Palestine, now as I write this you are engaged in yet another murderous bloodletting which may result in possible and from what I’ve read very probable war crimes, committed against your Palestinian neighbors, a populace imprisoned, a populace that has done nothing to deserve this fate.
640 Palestinians killed in 12 days. What can one say … really … ah, thanks for the current ceasefire … I hope it lasts.
This is stomach turning and utter violence visited upon the innocent. A continuation of what you did in 2012. And again you use the arguably “the the most moral army in the world”, theIDF (Israel Defense Forces). Not only that, they (IDF) are also most likely among the most technologically advanced army. And they are using this advantage recklessly, snuffing out the lives of innocent woman, children, young people, old people and here or there a few of their intended militant Hamas targets by surgical and much too frequently not so surgical strikes on known hospitals, homes, and the occasional UN safe zones, you know the ones: the schools doubling as refugee centres, the ones that the UN reportedly identified for you with GPS data.
All the while some of your proud citizenry cheer your wanton action on, those who take to hill tops entertaining themselves by watching the live rocket and the air strikes, knowing the devastation it is wreaking … as jubilant as though enjoying a festive fireworks display, or is it just Schadenfreude on display?
What I see is innocent unarmed, trapped Palestinian victims with nowhere left to flee to, being terrorized by HiTech cowards who claim the moral high ground.
WTF?! Something is very wrong with this PR image (granted: Media PR is just an illusion of colored smoke and fancy mirrors).
Perhaps dear Israel your moral compass is a bit off, perhaps you’ve really gone too far this time. It is time for me to act upon my conscience. Enough already. I choose to boycott your country, products from Israel. You probably don’t need my tourist money anyhow. Choosing to boycott is but the only option left open to me as a normal thinking/feeling world citizen.
To criticize a wrong is right. I am exercising that right. I will no longer stand idly by and say nothing. What is happening, once again, is still wrong, and will never be right. And I am not alone in this reaction to what I am witness to on a daily basis by various media. I’m sick of it.
Dear Israel, that wider road you are bulldozing through your neighbors orchards, fields and yards may not be the brightest idea and perhaps you will one day realize this. After all is it not peace you claim to want?
To be blunt, please stop this madness, just stop. Please stop stealing land that isn’t yours and stop treating others the way you wouldn’t want to be treated. You could rock as a good neighbor.
Shalom … its meaning rings hollow. Wishing you all the best. A concerned human being.