Our great friend Hen Colman, an artist printmaker (www.hencolman.com), recently was the artist in residence at Kingston University Dorich House Museum. Dorich House is an artist studio and accommodation built in the 1930’s; it is set in an orchard of wizen fruit trees. Hen took the fallen branches, turned them into charcoal, then made art using the charcoal – a beautiful synergy.
I was given a gnarled and wormy bit of Mulberry and I made some spoons for Hen. Obviously, spoon whittling has nothing to do with boats but it was a nice distraction for a few hours.
Continuing with the whittling theme, I spent a glorious week making paddles at the Festival de Loire at Orleans. These French know how to organise a boat festival – extraordinary boats, wild music, lots of theatre in many forms weird and wonderful, great food and wine, fireworks beyond your imagination, and its all free!
Paddles are becoming a bit of an obsession now. The fifth paddle making course at The Sylva Foundation is about to happen and there are another two courses in the 2020 program. Go to www.sylva.org.uk to book your place.
I took three finished paddles to Orleans and they all sold! So I have been finishing off the ones made at the festival for stock and to give the students on the paddle course something to aim for.
I am slowly coming up with my own paddle style with some subtle detail defining the shape. All I need now is a canoe.