A pictorial blog from some events the Wympole Green Woodworkers were invited to.
We did this one at Sutton Hoo where there are some famous Saxon burials.
Shane, Jayne and David busied themselves making the framework for a coracle out of Jim’s willow.
Others spent their time keeping warm and making treen: spoons, candlesticks (I think) and cricket stumps.
The most popular spot was the rocket log that we brought along as it was bitterly cold with a biting wind: hot tea and charred meat were always available!!!!
The cold weekend didn’t dampen the spirits of the other stall holders either. They demonstrated their skills and knowledge and it was a delight to walk about the site. I especially liked the linen demonstration- boy, making cloth with flax is very labour intensive…first you soak it to free the fibres from the rest of the plant (which incidentally means you club it to death) and then you spend ages combing it so that you can spend days spinning it before it is woven into cloth. No wonder clothing was passed down when you died!!!!! Nowadays clothing is so cheap it discarded on a whim.
This gentleman blacksmith had a shop full of his work and I was rather intrigued by the snakes made from rasps- the flattened rasps took on the texture of snakeskin.
There was a woodman hewing oak beams and John was fashioning bowls.
The main reason we were asked to attend was because it was a sort of Saxon market fair and the National Trust had asked quite a few people who could demonstrate rural skills related to the items found under the burial mounds. Although none of us could match the magnificent metal work we did make everyday items that could have been found in the Saxon period.
Not sure about making a helmet but I would love to have a go at making a woven saxon blade. Instructions are provided below. Maybe a small dagger to start with!!!
There is a museum on the site which has quite a bit of information about Sutton Hoo and the Saxons and I did notice the GOLD coins… wouldn’t it be nice to stumble across some when digging? (I wish!) Also in the museum was a replica ship burial of the Saxon king- interesting, although I was more taken by the cleft oak roof and peg fixings.
The next extra meeting was at the Harlton Community Orchard which David had organised; unlike the Sutton Hoo event it was a gloriously sunny day.
The Wympole Green Woodworkers seem to be spreading their wings which is very pleasing- the group is growing in size and will need a proper home soon. What is especially nice about going elsewhere as well having a home base at Wimpole is that there seems to be a resurgence in interest in practical skills; maybe, just maybe, people are beginning to rebel against the electronic age or at least wish to have a break from it.