During a very pleasant visit from Ian Bailie he consented to my request to add an explanation and series of pictures of the timber staffs and walking aids that I do, but first I would like to include and offer for sale a good A4 copy of part of Rudyard Kiplings poem which may well appeal to any anglo-Saxophiles amongst the readers. Price Â£1.50 plus carriage at cost.
Admitting I get a great deal of pleasure out of wood carving, the skill, does have a quirky spiritual element that is hard to describe.
Having never received any tuition or guidance as to the art I began carving in the mid eighties quite by accident and have evolved different applications ever since.
Commencing a subject is often just a matter of intuition and when asked to clarify, all I can honestly answer is, 'the wood tells me what it wants to be' Expanding upon that somewhat curious explanation is that some small element of the grain, or the shape or segment of bark presents whatever the subject the timber will eventually portray and to this date, that subject matter has been quite varied and includes a great number of themes on mythological, pagan, supernatural subjects often presented on a type of wood called a twistie or presented on traditional staff like timber from a timber yard have frequently presented a story not unlike a Native American Totem Pole, or in the tradition of a Viking Saga as archaeological finds have given us as examples. Another frequent commission has been regimental history, or quite simply history of a nation such as a time line, others may present sporting activity or hobbies such as Morris dancing, even steam trains wending their way up the shaft, plus sport, and competition awards of which all have one thing in common; the finished product will be totally unique.
On more than one occasion I have carved themes to raise money for such groups as 'Help for Heroes' which is just about the only time they can get a financial return anywhere near commensurate with the time dedicated to their creation and I have always been pleased to complete such topics.
Included in this article are some images to demonstrate the standard I have been able to employ and am always willing to consider commissions or themes from any source that appreciates this type of thing. Those that gain physical benefit of these colourful walking aids can vary from people with walking difficulties to staffs and staves to aid long distance walkers, climbers and people with a pagan tradition that consider them utilise a staff as part of their belief structure.
Subject 1. Gandalf or Merlin.
When first viewing this staff it is not always plain what the carving depicts but for as long as you study the shape and form, it begins to unravel itself and becomes clearly obvious.
It started as a branch with a piece of the bark naturally peeled of that struck me to being an elbow peeping from under a sleeve, and another natural feature looked like a hole in someoneâ€™s trousers at the knee.
From this point the rest of the figure, its shape, personality and form seemed to come naturally and when closely inspected it displays Merlin giving a piggy back to an elf.
In the bark just below the two people, can be seen a boar and an owl in the bark that is natural and untouched by human hand.
This is s sturdy staff and measures over five feet that is twisted by the effect of honeysuckle winding and suppressing the natural growth of the bough at the top of the staff and the carving of Merlin whilst a further twist occurs quite naturally half way up, which offers second hand hold to supplement the main grip at the top. The twist represents the earthâ€™s coil of energy.
It is finished by the application of many coats of Dane-oil.
Carved in the tradition of St Christopher, it would certainly make a journey easier in open country?
Subject 2. 2000 years of British History.
Carved utilising the natural twist of honeysuckle that stifles the growth of the host tree this sturdy staff offers solid support to any that need it.
The shaft is hand carved depicting major aspects of British history that starts with an image of Boudicca protecting her two daughters from the ravage of marauding Romans above which she is seen to adopt her role as Queen on the Icenni where a Briton can be seen engaged in combat with a Roman legionary. From this point are featured images of the main elements of British history including Alfred the Great, Anglo-Saxons and raiding Vikings, Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror, Crusaders, Agincourt, English Civil War, Wellingtons army and the Second World War.
Sold for Â£220.00
There is another on this theme covering the first 1000 years on a natural twisty. It is also treated with Daneoil to highlight the natural features of the wood.
Subject 3. De Vere kneeling knight.
A wall hanging plaque depicting a Crusading knight at prayer, overlooked by his guardian angel.
This is a one off hand carving in a timber called jelatung and treated with a clear varnish.
It has an eleven inch radius.
Subject 4. Canterbury Medieval Gateway. (Westgate)
A wall hanging depicting Westgate viewed from St Dunstans high street, Canterbury at the end of the nineteenth century. (See the image glued on the back of the carving).
Hand carved in lime wood and treated with the application of multi layers of Dane-oil.
Subject 5. Black Griffin. Public House sign.
This hand pub sign is a focal point within Canterbury City and is regularly photographed by visitors.
Should you need a unique/bespoke public house sign or hotel name-board, or shop sign that will attract the passing footfall, even a house name sign there are few better adverts than this.
Customized wooden plaques featuring a chosen aspect of your premises can adorn any restaurant, hotel, public house or private home.
Such centre pieces become a focal point that experience has indicated acts as memorable advert for the property or premises you choose to promote.
All hand carved in the Garden of England.
If you have any particular theme that you would like developed or simply view additional commissions I have completed or have for sale, please feel free to contact me.