Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Monty Don’s Mastercrafts on the BBC

For some reason WordPress doesn’t allow me to embed BBC iPlayer content, so I have used a screenshot with a clickthrough to the original on the BBC website.

Back in February the Heritage Crafts Association was contacted about a new series on traditional crafts. Mastercrafts, fronted by Monty Don, is coming soon to BBC2.

Each week three hopefuls get the chance to study under some of the country’s leading master craftsmen and women. They will be trained to a high standard in the craft of their choice, including metal work, wood craft, stone masonry, glass-making, thatching and weaving. The aim is to equip them with the practical knowledge and skills to give them a head start in their chosen craft.

Monty will be charting the students’ progress during their training and exploring the fascinating and often forgotten history of each craft. The aim is to put traditional crafts firmly back on the map in modern Britain.


Fishing spearheads

Here are three fishing spears I have just finished.

The one on the right was the one I started on Native Skills 2. It is made from a single piece of sycamore split into four and held apart with spacers. This is done when the wood is green, and as it seasons it holds the split and the initial spacers can be replaced with finished ones. Each prong is carved into a spike with a barb.

The other two spearheads are ones that I have made since NS2. The one on the right is made of hazel on the same principle as the first, but with only two prongs instead of four. The barbs are made of bone secured with pine pitch and sinew. The centre spearhead is the only one that is not one piece. The main spike and body was carved from sycamore and the three outer prongs are made from hazel, with bone barbs.

All three spearheads are made to be hafted to simple split spears and bound with cord. All are intended to have a degree of flex to them so that they stretch around the fish’s body and grip, increasing the chance of a catch.