Gathered Knowledge

The Art of Paul Cummings

This is NOT about the well-established digital artist who works for Saatchi, called Paul Cummings. Find him everywhere elsewhere. We don’t know him.

This post is all about another Paul Cummings, who we met in Avebury at midsummer last year.

HMP by Paul Cummings

HMP by Paul Cummings - Chalk Pastel 835x595 mm

“You reckon that’s pacified your Gods? Cos it ain’t pacified mine”.

Click to read more, and see all the pictures… (more…)

Felix Ford’s “A4074” BBC Oxford Radio Show

On boxing day, Felicity ‘Felix’ Ford had her thrilling radio show played on BBC Radio Oxford.

A4074-show-image

as heard on BBC Oxford, boxing-day 2010

It is a study in soundscape, social history, and the multi-layered reality of space. It looks at the many-parted understandings of the road, and land surrounding it, through the eyes and experiences of walkers, singers, motorcyclists, steam-waggoners, and many more.

You can listen to the whole thing on Felix’ website, the Domestic Soundscape.

And here is a clip of our contributions to the show:

Please enjoy. And our thanks to Felix, who is, we should say, one of the best sock-knitters we’ve ever met.

The Songs We Sing

This post is an article, which can be freely distributed on any other website or publication as desired. For an introduction, photographs or recordings, please contact us.

The Songs We Sing

or, how we understand traditional music’s importance.

Christmas sing-it-up

woodland winter songs

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Cartoon Cut Out “Ed and Will”

A man from St. Austell once sent us a picture.

We were flattered, because it was of us, and it was very good.

Ed Will by Trystan Mitchell

To find out more, please read on…

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Keep Your Knife Sharp, with Barn the Spoon

Barn the Spoon has a unique way of doing things. He finds his way by experimentation and observation, a process to which he is fully and joyfully committed.

So he’s done a lot of knife sharpening, trying many configurations and possibilities. Always, his trials are informed by a thorough grounded understanding of the tool itself, and the job it has to do.

Barney Spoon at Work

Man at Spoon

And having found a good way to ensure a sharp blade, Barn on this video shares with us his findings in keeping a knife keen.

Many thanks to Barn the Spoon. Look out for him on a footpath somewhere, fresh green spoons lining his smock, small knives glinting in the wooded sunbeams.

How to make a Hazel Hurdle

This is a long post, with a video at the bottom.

Please press MORE, and read it up.

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Cut Out Figures

The best way to make these yourself, is to right-click on them, ‘save the image-as’, then open them and print them yourself. Use medium-weight card, for best results.

Good luck. If you succeed, please send us a photo…

Press More for cut-outs

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Our Compost Loo

When we first arrived in the woods every poo needed its own hole, which took a lot of time, and could be awkward in desperate moments.

A compost loo was the best quick idea we could see to solve this problem, a big hole in which the rich nightsoil (we like that word) could break itself down, and harmlessly enrich the local earth.

First was the hole, which as we’ve mentioned, provided clay for the window-cobbing. Next, we placed 4 straw bales around the trench, and pegged them down with hurdle rods, so there could be no dreadful tumbling accidents. The bales also heightened the action position, meaning our hole did not have to be so deep.

Then a specially designed hurdle was made, with a hole in it.

compost loo wattle
Rejecting the Thomas Crapper method

This meant our loo was a squatting only contraption, which everyone knows is the only way to poo wholesomely. For guests who couldn’t handle this, there was a traditionally seated compost loo ten minutes walk away, at the other end of the wood.

compost loo
pleasant and delightful

Lastly, a hazel dome frame was dug in and woven over the top of the bales and hurdle, which was itself covered in canvas, to keep the our heads, and the composting deposits, dry.

What we dropped therein, we covered with either wood-ash, a useful double use for our regular stove clean-out. If wood-ash was short, then leaves sufficed. This helped with the breakdown.

We often wonder how people justify dispatching their poo with drinkable water, when there is such a shortage in this land, and in others. For one thing, water is expensive! And it is heavy. Having to carry our water only a quarter of a mile made us appreicate the daily duty of water.

Toilet paper was something we initially did without, but the regular guests in our winter home meant that this odd luxury was brought in, and often lingered after guests left. Certainly, the most local moss supplies ran low, and we were often glad of our toilet roll stash.

the best loo for miles
two log rounds to step up on

We can recommend heartily the act of compost-loo building, as an alternative to wasting gallons of good water a day. Every other living creature lets their excrement fall to earth, and we believe humans can do this too.

A film of house-building in the woods

This winter, we made all sorts of things from the wood around us. When we arrived, we had some rudimentary hand-tools, but nothing electric or powered. Good axes were brought from home, and a boot fair provided us with hand-drills and bits, an iron digging stick, a good shovel and a bow-saw, the best of available technologies.

us in zone

the finished job

Materials-wise, we were coppicing, so hazel rods were plentiful, and standards (timber trees) were also being felled, so ash and oak were available too. Everything but the roof of our house (which was of secondhand canvas) was made from immediate resources – except for parts which we liberated from the local tip. We prided ourselves on using no metal or plastic in it, until the perspex slabs were donated for window use. The breaking of resolve on this point meant that we did finish one window with 10 little metal tacks. It was 20 times quicker than carving hazel pegs ourselves, and by then we were really getting tired.

Rose and Ayla were driving forces in the ‘free-time-equals-craft-time’ paradigm, and we are well grateful for all they taught us this winter, in practical and motivational terms.

Here is a short video compilation of the house, as it pops up to nestle us. Please enjoy.

Press MORE to see more crafty details of the house, built from ideas, sweat and hazel.

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Carmarthen, and the people of Myrddin’s City

window scene

This is the story of meetings made while walking last year, on the oath to Saint Davids (Dewi Sant).

It takes place while Ed and Will were accompanied by Rose, and sees them arrive in Carmarthen, or Caerfyrddin, the City of Merlin.

It tells of Merlin and his Oak, of throwing axes, of Carmarthen Police Force, and of the most beautiful music we’ve ever witnessed in a pub folk-session.

gang

And it has interesting recordings too. So please press ‘more’, and read on…

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