Woodland Crafts in Penglais Woods Nature Reserve
After taking Morgan for a swimming lesson yesterday morning, in which he didn’t do as asked as usual, we heaed off for a walk in Penglais Woods where there was a special craft day going on.
We had a nice little walk along the footpath from the entrance opposite the university and then in a beech clearing found a few people doing various crafts. One guy, a tree surgeon, was demonstrating tree climbing, there were a few people turning wood on tradition lathes and a a guy with some things made of wood. There was also the opportunity to decorate your own bowl using Raku. Raku is a pottery technique that has it’s origins in 16th century Japan, the firing proceeds at a rapid pace with the wares reaching temperature in as short a cycle as 15-20 minutes, follwed by raipd cooling. This compares to the more traditional method of firing that lasts 8-24 hours followed by cooling phase that lasts 12-24 hours. Good news for us as it meant we could get hold of the bowl we had decorated without a huge wait.
Unfortunately there weren’t really any instructions and we didn’t really know what we were doing. Before getting there we knew nothing about Raku, there weren’t any finished products to give you an idea opf what could be achieved and all of the bowls coming out completed looked pretty much the same. Black with the odd blob of colour here and there. The blues and greens didn’t really show up too well, the copper colour which produced a metallic glaze was good though, so we were glad we’d added some of that to our bowl!
Morgan then made a little wooden pendant with a print of a beech tree on it and we wandered off through the woods looking for more things. We did come across a man making an owl sculpture with a chain saw, and had a nice view out over Aberystwyth, but nothing else. I think there were some stall down in Aberystwyth itself, but we didn’t find them and the promised childrens games and organised sessions that were meant to take place never seemed to materialise. It was still a nice walk in the woods though and Morgan enjoyed making his little pendant and hitting logs with a stick!