Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock are back with a second collaboration
Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock are back with a second collaboration

Holly O'Neill

10 brilliant Netflix picks worth a repeated watch
10 brilliant Netflix picks worth a repeated watch

Jennifer McShane

Does the sale of Reese Witherspoon’s company spell the end of female-led movies and television?
Does the sale of Reese Witherspoon’s company spell the end of female-led movies and television?

Sarah Finnan

Behind Closed Doors: ‘I’m an IT consultant by day and a dominatrix by night’
Behind Closed Doors: ‘I’m an IT consultant by day and a dominatrix by night’

Amanda Cassidy

40 of the best sun-bleached and desert-inspired summer nail shades
40 of the best sun-bleached and desert-inspired summer nail shades

Holly O'Neill

10 of Meghan Markle’s all-time best royal looks
10 of Meghan Markle’s all-time best royal looks

Jennifer McShane

Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal
Taylor Swift sent the Galway paddleboarders a letter when she heard about their ordeal

Sarah Finnan

Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again
Sound the alarm! Lizzo and Chris Evans are flirting online again

Sarah Finnan

Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered
Disney’s attack on Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit is incredibly gendered

Jennifer McShane

All things seaside, from shells to starfish, are making a splash
All things seaside, from shells to starfish, are making a splash

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

We Try Bladesmithing, Spoon Carving and Basket Weaving


by IMAGE Interiors & Living
10th Mar 2017
blank

In the second and final instalment of our creative courses series, we road test workshops in bladesmithing, spoon carving and basket weaving. Whether you’ve an afternoon to spare or a whole weekend, find your new-you creative fix here.


BLADESMITHING

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-14-06-05

Hidden in the idyllic lakeside-landscape of Russborough in County Wicklow, on a crisp Saturday morning, the therapeutic process of bladesmithing is in progress.

Slowly hammering the heated metal on our anvils, sculpting it to the shape of a knife, a group of six of us, ranging in age and skill, are mastering the art under the watchful eye of Danish-born blacksmith, Gunvor Anhoj.

I’ve opted for a knife with a curved handle, which involves manipulating my metal to a circular shape before using the hammer to bend and mould it into the shape desired – a task that involves concentration and patience. As the morning continues, excitement takes over as the final piece begins to form. Others, keener woodworkers than I, choose a simple handle, which allows them to add to it at home.

By the time lunch arrives, our faces have taken on the sooty sheen of a true blacksmith. We eat in the nearby cafe, before spending the afternoon learning a series of heat treatments (namely, normalising and hardening) that allows us to sharpen the blade, and sand our pieces to their shining glory. The final stage, tempering, is for us to do at home. To decrease brittleness, my oven is being used to brown my knife to a straw colour, before taking pride of place in my knife collection.? Melanie Mullan

A bladesmithing taster course costs €130. Visit the website for dates. The Forge, Russborough House, Blessington, County Wicklow.


SPOON CARVING?

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-12-29-53

There’s nothing quite like the feel of a razor-sharp knife cutting through greenwood, never mind an axe that could split hairs, splicing a log in two in one fell swoop. Doing either with a measure of control, sufficient to preserve life and limb, while also shaping form is skilled work and doing so with grace is a different proposition altogether. Eamonn O’Sullivan, founder of Hewn, makes it look like a doddle, and is an excellent teacher when it comes to explaining how to make gravity and tools work for you. (He also has plenty of odd shaped plasters on hand, should your concentration lapse, and a carver get the better of you.)

Over the course of a day, you begin to get a real feel for the vagaries of wood grain and negative space. Most beginners have to grapple for a while with the concept that they can go hard at the planes, constituting the back of the spoon, without compromising its bowl. It can also be hard to wrap your head around the fact that the top end of the bowl has to be sharply angled, not flat. Working the piece is alternatively meditative and physically gruelling. My elbow was on ice for 24 hours after the class ended, but as soon as I could type again, I was online ordering tools. Laura George

Upcoming Hewn workshops take place on March 5 and April 8. Hewn Workshop, Westport, County Mayo.


BASKET MAKING

screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-12-35-09

[photograph: Peter Rowen]

A colourful array of cottages greet us as we drive into the craft village of An Ceardlann in Spiddal; it’s a cheerful sight, coupled with the impressive view of Galway Bay and the Aran Islands beyond. I’m looking for basket-maker Ciaran Hogan‘s workshop, and find it, filled with homegrown willow, out the back of his shop.

The first step on day one of our basket making course, is selecting the willow. We’re each going to make a bread basket before the day is out, Ciaran says, and as someone who’s never woven willow in my life, “I find this a curious and exhilarating thought.

Ciaran, son of master basketmaker Joe Hogan, marks out the specific size of willow needed, and we go about matching the required number for each part of the basket. Once we get going, I find weaving remarkably relaxing and therapeutic.

While we work, Ciaran has the fire blazing in the grate and music playing softly in the background, creating a tranquil atmosphere, punctuated only by the kettle boiling for another round of tea and biscuits. Visitors come and go, while we weave, and the atmosphere ?is open and friendly.

On day two, I can’t believe I’m already completing a bigger basket and focusing on perfecting the technique. As the curative course comes to an end, I leave with two handmade baskets, and a serious creative confidence boost.?” Shannon Rose Burke

Ciaran Hogan runs one and two-day courses in An Ceardlann, and a four-day course at Lough na Fooey. One-on-one tuition is available and group workshops are capped at seven people. Weekend workshops book up fast, there’s two spots remaining for April 22-23, while May 6-7, and May 27-28 are open for booking.

 

Also Read

stress
EDITORIAL
Are you up the walls? How the language of stress causes stress

Do you find yourself talking about how busy and stressed you are? With stress, the words we speak are like...

By Sophie White

blank
EDITORIAL
The life-changing act of binning all your terrible underwear

A life of wearing the wrong underwear had Sophie White’s knickers in a twist. She reports on the unexpected satisfaction...

By Sophie White

abgc_architects_aoife_herrity
EDITORIAL
A plain extension in Dublin 8 provides a blank canvas for a design-minded couple

ABGC Architects were enlisted to transform a large white box into a functional living space for two design-minded homeowners. When...

By Amanda Kavanagh

DIY wall murals
EDITORIAL
People are getting creative with their walls in lockdown and we’re dying to give it a go

While staying at home and with plenty of time to spare, creative people are turning to their walls as a...

By Megan Burns

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
I’ve been ugly and beautiful and the difference is depressing

When I was 12 I wrote a story about two girls who were best friends. One girl, the main character,...

By Sophie White

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Quite interesting’: Princess Anne comments on The Crown

We’ve all heard that the royal family don’t exactly gather round to watch The Crown, but one member has shared...

By Jennifer McShane