A return to The Weald and Downland Museum

What a couple of weeks! Firstly an update on the columns for the clocktower at Breamore House in Salisbury. I finished carved the capitals on Friday just gone so hopefully if all goes to plan James should be getting them craned into place either this week or next.

Now they've had the extra section added to the top I think they look so much better.


The Clocktower before it needed restoration work. You can see where the columns will be going just above the clock face.

The Clocktower before it needed restoration work. You can see where the columns will be going just above the clock face.

On Sunday The Prince’s Foundation apprentices were invited to join a PF and National Trust two day event hosted at the fascinating Weald and Downland Museum, not far from where I’m based. I also visited the museum whilst studying for my degree many moons ago so it was really great to have an excuse to return,If you even have a passing interest in how our building were once constructed then I thoroughly recommend a trip to Weald and Downland.

I was invited to give a short presentation explaining how I got into woodcarving, my experience of the BCA course and goals for the future. Another BCA and a Young Heritage Apprentice, Miriam, also spoke about their time with the PF. We also got to hear from the National Trust apprentices which was great to see what they get involved in on their course. We were privileged to be present at the National Trust Apprentice’s graduation ceremony at Petworth House where we were also told about the restoration of some rather magnificent metal gates which had fallen into a sorry state of disrepair. Very impressive work and some gorgeous acanthus leaves on show which I can use as inspiration for my own work.

Day 2 was where the real fun began as we got to take part in workshops choosing  2 from 6 traditional crafts to try out. My choices were cob building and blacksmithing.

The cob workshop was led by Alex Gibbons, Director of Earth Building UK and friend of fellow BCA JeffreyTheNaturalBuilder.com. Very informative and my idea of living/working in an earth building has now been fortified. 

The Blacksmithing was a wonderful experience. Taking place in an old ‘Smithy’ from c.1850 brought to the Weald and Downland to save it from demolition in 1971, you really felt like you had stepped back in time. A few hours later I had produced my very own hook based on a typical Tudor design, had a go at keeping the bellows going to feed the fire and once again realised that anything that seemingly looks easy very rarely is!

Also thrown into the mix I completed a third vineyard sign for Chilworth Manor, a coat of arms for a 70th birthday present and carving into an oak porch. Things should start to settle down a bit next week!

Posted on May 20, 2015 .