A subforum to showcase past Eisteddfod competitions.

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Poll ended at 01 Aug 2014, 14:34

ShadowCat -- Drum Rose
elementalheart -- Arizona pine turned bowl
whitestarfire -- Sea Salmon Athame
Total votes: 22

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Postby Earthwoman » 25 Jun 2014, 12:24

Notice: Please use the poll to cast vote(s) for your favorite crafts entries. You cannot select more than two. ONLY those votes submitted to the poll will be tallied. Votes submitted as posts below will not be counted.

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Postby ShadowCat » 25 Jun 2014, 15:27

Drum Rose

I've made a meditationdrum truly from start to finish.
For a long time I've wondered why the humble cow is rarely used in spirit-drums. A lot of folks fawn over buffalo, elk, bear, even when those animals are not native (anymore) to the Netherlands where I live. Cows on the other hand, we have heaps of those. Many locked away in appalling industrialised stables, yet also loads outside on pastures. I've got two other selfmade drums already, one made with the skin of a deer and the other with the hide of a white grizzly (long story). Especially the grizzly is very strong, dominant, in-your-face. Not everyone can accept that energy and sound easily, so I yearned for a simple, friendly, gentle drum.

So I've talked about this with a local biodynamic farmer and this is "drum, start to (almost) finish"
IMG_1946.jpg (323.06 KiB) Viewed 4472 times
Meet Rose, a smallish cow, two years old. She had to narrow hips to give birth safely and natural, so she moved up the list of the farmer of those animals that are turned into beef. I've made this photo of her about a week before slaughter, sat with her, conversed and tried to feel if it felt right to conserve her hide for drums. She is a very gentle, sweet lady. She passed january 25th, 2014. This particular farmer takes his animals to a small slaugherhouse that is clean when an animal comes in, and the animals don't have to wait. They come, the farmer stays with them, they are put down and respectfully processed. Normally, hide, hooves and bones that can't be sold go back to the farm and are buried to feed the soil.

After she passed I've collected her hide, took her outside, said prayers over her skin and scraped and salted the hide. I've split the hide in five parts, for five drums to be made. One by me, and the other by dear friends of mine. After salting, I hung the skin outside to dry and to wait for the right moment to make the drum.
red paint
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A red frame felt "right". Not to large, about 32 cm. I went to a store to get paint and found just one can in a perfect shade of ruby red in a clearance sale rack. So I sanded the maple frame and on went several coats of paint.
red frame
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Meanwhile, Rose took a bath to soften the hide and wash out the salt again.

After her bath I cut the skin to size, scraped of some last imperfections and started the lacing. I've used artificial sinew for the lacing in two colours, for two seperate bindings, each from eight points. The two lacings are never tied together. Why? Partly because it was the first time lacing with sinew (normally I use rawhide ribbons) and If one set breaks, the other holds tension. On another level it just felt "right", this is how it has to be. Two colours, two lacings, two crosses.
double lacing
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After lacing she got to dry in the sun...
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This is her, finished...
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She is shedding a bit, her wintercoat might well come out in the coming months. I still need to make her own drumstick, but for now I've played her lightly with my hands, she sounds incredably light for such a thick hide. A sweet, joyous, friendly drum...

(I apologise for the size of the images, but I'm struggling to get them right and this is best as I can do atm. The photo's can be found here as well: ... 19f12d00d7 )
Three sounds one should treasure:
the whisper of the wind through the leaves
the songs of one's heart
the callings of the universe

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Sacred spaces and places

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Postby elementalheart » 14 Jul 2014, 13:43

Arizona pine turned bowl

This is my first attempt at woodturning, using a square block of Arizona Pine which had been reclaimed from over 20 years use at the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay by my woodcrafting mentor Jim Brown. With decades of peat based whisky passing over one side and the extremes of Arizona winter/summer growth patterns, it is a unique and very scented experience that made my senses come alive throughout so I wanted to share it with you.

The starting block
Arizona Pine block.jpg
Arizona Pine block.jpg (138.95 KiB) Viewed 4401 times
First turning the cube into a cylinder, taking off the edges, the varnish and revealing the heart of the wood
AP block to drum.jpg
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Eventually bringing a circular base shape from a square and juddering a lot less!
AP base first cut.jpg
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Turning the base into shape and also providing secure grip for turning the centre
AP bowl base.jpg
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Then hollowing into the core of the bowl, trying not to go right through to the deepest cut on the base - the shallowest point is just 2-3mm of wood to hold the stability so it was a near thing but I loved the way the grain came to light and the seasonal growth rings contrasted due to Arizona seasonal extremes.
AP bowl core.jpg
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Finishing the edges and creating a near final look and balance
AP bowl edge.jpg
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Trimming in a very simple dual ring around the top surface and one around the outer edge (harder to see as it is in with the growth rings)
AP bowl trim.jpg
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And finally, every week I collected all the shavings, from general dust to a more skilful broad shaving, to make into highly scented whisky/peat/wood infused pot pourri - wasting nothing!
AP scented shavings.jpg
AP scented shavings.jpg (173.02 KiB) Viewed 4401 times
Image Image 2013BS 2013LI 2013SB 2014IL 2014LI

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Postby whitestarfire » 18 Jul 2014, 21:38

Sea Salmon Athame

Driftwood originally born through the earth, blessed by the wind, cast into the sea, bleached by the sun and cleansed by the ocean. Newly emerged from the watery womb to rest upon the ancient sand where beach pebbles silently whisper, to those who listen, sharing the wisdom of our ancestors.
Delightfully, I gathered up some pieces of driftwood in my arms and returned home where, when ready, a selected piece was carefully sanded, gently smoothed and a design imprinted upon the handle and through my helping hand this driftwood is now reborn into the shape of an Athame, quietly magical, waiting ............

This competition encouraged me to 'have a go for the fun of it' so this is a first time attempt at making anything like this .... so... here goes.... Firstly, using various grades of sandpaper I worked the wood until the desired shape appeared following the line of the flow. An inspiration for a design on the handle was a salmon swimming against the flow (pictures on the top of the handle) and swimming with the flow on the reverse. Pyrography is an experimental first for me too (..and yes, I did burn my wrist on the hot poker part just to remind me not to do it again....hmmm... until next time). Once that was done, I lightly oiled the wood and later used a little beeswax too.
Traditionally athame handles are black, obviously this one is not; my intention was to keep the wood as natural as possible, including little knots and also the long line down the centre of the top of the 'blade' is naturally in the wood. I made the tassel, which is attached to the rear end of the handle, out of threaded gemstone chips, water pearls and talismans as inspired working with the energies and it also adds a little flourish as part of its quirky uniquiness (some info below).

During the crafting of this item I have been conscious of how the energy and the inspiration came together, also there is quite a lot of symbolism included so here are a few brief notes which barely scratch the surface, as you know the deeper we delve the more riches there are to be discovered:-

Salmon: wisdom, fortitude, strength
Sea: sea of life, subconscious mind, intuitive power, emotion, cosmic consciousness
Seed Pearls: Feminine principle, intuitive wisdom, serenity
Dolphin: super-conscious intelligent beings, joy, spontaneity
Amethyst: A highly spiritual stone, healing,
Pentagram: Protection, circle of eternity, elements: earth, air, fire, water, spirit
Anchor: strength, security
Fluorite: Aids concentration, clears the mental fog bringing clarity
Compass symbol: directions, south north west east, elements etc.

Thank you for reading this and sharing my journey, here are some photos from different angles
sea salmon athame whole front a (640x360).jpg
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sea salmon athame handle back detail (640x480).jpg
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sea salmon athame back whole a (640x359).jpg
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sea salmon athame front blade detail (640x480).jpg
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sea salmon detail handle front a (640x480) (2).jpg
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sea salmon athame whole front a (640x360).jpg
sea salmon athame whole front a (640x360).jpg (155.46 KiB) Viewed 4378 times

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Postby Earthwoman » 25 Jul 2014, 14:39

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