Such an exciting gathering on the banks of the Ōtākaro happening very soon!
Rekindle founder, Juliet Arnott is delighted to have been commissioned by Yo-Yo Ma as part of his Bach Project to evolve this special event to coincide with his visit to Ōtautahi Christchurch on November 13th.
Juliet is collaborating with Kerepeti Paraone (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Hine), Te Pūtahi – Christchurch centre for architecture and city-making & Tier One Events to bring this event to life.
You are all invited to come & sit together on the banks of the Ōtākaro Avon River at lunchtime on Wed 13 November to acknowledge the rivers of Waitaha/Canterbury through song & weaving. While kairaranga weave harakeke, we will all sing waiata together, listen to karakia, stories & music that celebrate this life-sustaining water that connects us all.
This is part of Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Project in Christchurch, which explores how culture actively shapes a better future, and involves Yo-Yo performing with talented musicians and weavers of Ōtautahi.
YOUR PART - LEARNING THE TWO WAIATA:
You can join in by learning the two waiata Purea Nei & Te Wai Tuku Kiri that we will sing together with these amazing musicians at the event. This link takes you to a document with both the lyrics & links to films of these beautiful waiata to practice with.
Wed 13 Nov // 12-1.15pm
211 Oxford Tce – on the banks of the Ōtākaro Avon River
Spoon carving requires three basic tools: an axe; a straight knife; and a curved “hook”, “crook” or “spoon” knife. These tools are useful in lots of other projects, and are a great asset for anyone getting started working with green wood. Availability of carving tools in New Zealand isn’t great, but there are options to buy locally without having to resort to ordering from overseas. It’s also true to say that you don’t need to buy the most expensive tools to start carving spoons, but as with all tools you’ll seldom regret buying good quality. Below, we’ll outline the basics of what makes a functional tool for carving, and where you can procure them.
The carving axe is used for roughing out shapes. It removes as much wood as possible before knives are employed. It has a wide bevel of around 8-10mm that enables it to slice the surface of the wood like a knife. As such carving axes are kept very sharp like a knife - unlike axes for splitting kindling).
Two carving axe patterns, showing cut-out behind blade – desirable but not a necessity.
Your first carving hatchet needn’t be expensive (mine cost $3 from a market), if you’re prepared to buy an old hatchet, take the time to file the wide bevel and sharpen it yourself. This method is discussed in greater detail in Rekindle’s sharpening class). A cheap hardware store hatchet like Bahco will also work, but some of the cheap ones may not hold a good edge. The best hatchet shape for carving has a long blade for slicing, and a cut-out behind the blade that allows the user to bring their fingers up behind the head of the axe and control it accurately during fine work. For most people the ideal weight is 500-700g.
Sources in NZ:
(Garage sales, markets or hardware stores for an axe that you can re-bevel and sharpen yourself.)
The straight knife is the woodcarving workhorse. It is used for a myriad of different jobs from roughing to fine detail work. It also has a wide, slicing bevel referred to as a “Scandinavian grind”. Most pocket knives don’t have this type of bevel and that makes them a poor substitute. Recommending a straight knife is easy - The Mora 106 is an excellent balance of value for money with a good quality knife, and it’s used extensively throughout the world by woodcarvers.
Mora 106 straight knife
Sources in NZ:
The hook knife is used to hollow the concave areas of carving - especially the bowls of spoons. A good hook knife has a compound curve - a shallower radius toward the handle, becoming a tighter hook toward the knife tip. Hook knives come in left and right-handed versions, and although experienced carvers use both, most beginners will be happy enough with a single knife for their dominant hand. Ideally, a hook knife blade should be thick enough not to “chatter” - flexing and vibrating in the cut as it slices through the wood. Hook knives in which the back of the blade is highly polished and rounded will tend to cut much more smoothly and naturally.
Various hook knives showing the range of curves and shapes available.
There are many options for buying a hook knife. There is also a correlation between price and functionality. Knives that have been cheaply mass-produced will seldom be as pleasant to use as a more expensive one produced by a small, artisan toolmaker. As such, Rekindle doesn’t recommend a particular hook knife but we suggest you do some reading and make a choice depending on your means and your level of interest. In Rekindle classes we use Hans Karlsson and Ben Orford knives (from Sweden and the UK respectively) which are closer to the artisan end of the spectrum.
As for what is available, Mora produce a cheap and readily available hook knife: the Mora 164. It has well-known flaws, but the new, redesigned version of 2019 corrects some of these. Robin Wood makes spoon knives that are at the midpoint of the market in terms of their balance of functionality and price. Other knives from a range of smaller makers are available online in specialist stores or from the makers themselves, and ordering from the latter will sometimes involve waiting times or waitlists.
Before choosing a hook knife it’s worth reading this blogpost by Robin Wood that examines a number of different hook knives and how they work: http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/wood-craft-blog/2013/01/29/best-spoon-carving-knife-hook-knife/ (note that this was written in 2013 so there are now many more knives to choose from). There is also an up-to-date list of hook knife makers available in the Files section of the Spoon-Carving and Green Woodworking group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GreenWoodWork/, along with lots of advice and many differing opinions on which tools to buy.
Sources in NZ:
Sources outside NZ (international shipping costs apply!):
And many more...
Finally, it should be said that great tools don’t make a skilled carver. Time spent using your tools and learning how to sharpen them correctly will make the biggest difference to the quality of your work. We give advice on sharpening during our carving classes and look at these three tools specifically in our Sharpening class.
What a wonderful weekend at the Arts Centre in Ōtautahi Christchurch was had! Over 40 practitioners of necessary traditions spent the weekend demonstrating their resourceful skills. The reality of how it was to have these extraordinary group of practitioners together in one place was beyond our hopes, it felt like putting the tinder to a flame and the burst of energy & excitement in spontaneous & furry collaborations was evident in these moments:
A doll of Alex Yerks (woodcarver) made my Hilary Jean Tapper on Sunday 11 November 2018.
A shoe upper woven of harakeke by Tracey-Anne Cook for shoemaker Louise Ayling.
A spoon carved by Alex Yerks dyed with black carrot by Arina Terekhova.
These feel like the beginning of many enduring & enlivening pieces of work that strengthen relationships that keep us all practicing our necessary traditions.
As part of the inaugural festival in 2018 we are delighted to share with you this new fund which has been set up to fortify & grow the presence of resourceful craft in Aotearoa New Zealand.
This fund & it's impact is needed because as a society we are losing the ability to create what we need from what we have whilst caring for the local natural resources we rely on. To do this we need knowledge, skills & the practice of the necessary traditions which allow us to be kaitiaki or carers of the ecosystems we live within. This way we are all well & we are all connected.
Donations to this fund enable the following support:
This work has already begun with the Necessary Traditions festival 2018 giving over 40 resourceful practitioners the opportunity to share their practice with the general public. We have been able to bring these practitioners together to create a support network & to strengthen the identity of resourceful craft, and have provided specific support to enable their skills to be shared through workshops, talks & demonstrations.
We look forward to evaluating the impact of this event on these practitioners and sharing this with you.
We also look forward to working with more patrons who wish to have a part in fortifying & growing the presence of resourceful craft in Aotearoa New Zealand. As a patron of Necessary Traditions you can choose to: be consulted with on a regular basis regarding the direction of the fund, listed as a patron publicly, receive updates on the impact enabled by your donations, be a part of events, gain access to workshops, give advice, & get to know the practitioners we support.
The bank account for donations is: Rekindle 12-3147-0442675-01
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries regarding this.
Come and volunteer for the festival of Necessary Traditions!
Volunteers are needed to support the talented craftspeople and to host visitors, amongst other roles. If you'd like to offer up a few hours or a day we would love to hear from you. It's a wonderful opportunity even just to spend time in the beautiful Arts Centre.
Please fill in this Google Form here to tell us you’re interested in being involved or please email email@example.com
Thanks to grant funding from Creative New Zealand we have been able to develop new work & put a whole lot of energy into developing our Resourceful Skills Workshops programme this last year.
In later 2017 we received a grant from Creative New Zealand for this purpose & this has contributed significantly to the development of Rekindle as an arts organisation. This project developed our capability to work with an array of skilled craft practitioners including Stephanie Owens, Gregory Quinn, Benita Wakefield (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Kere, Ngāti Irakehu), Gemma Stratton, & Douglas Horrell.
This project has enabled us to curate & develop the Resourceful Skills Workshop programme, which comes as a result of these craft practitioners having time & opportunity to develop their skills to deliver craft workshops to the public.
We are delighted to share some images below of some of the work that has been enabled through this project.
A school holiday spoon carving class in progress being run by Juliet Arnott.
Images above by Johannes Van Kan.
Images below by Justyn Rebecca Denney.
Douglas Horrell carving a spoon from local Black Walnut. Douglas has been practising green wood-working for 2-3 years & now tutors with Rekindle. Image below is Douglas at work in our Arts Centre workshop.
Gemma Stratton weaving with son Marlo as she works on the back of one of the Orkney chairs that was made by the team.
Greg Quinn finishing a greenwood rake.
Benita Wakefield (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Kere, Ngāti Irakehu) weaving harakeke at Rehua Marae where she run some Raranga workshops with Rekindle. Benita is pictured below with her Aunty & Juliet Arnott.
This image above is Juliet Arnott preparing to finish a greenwood stool. This is a workshop developed for our Resourceful Skills programme.
Below are some of the amazing craftspeople who are or have been involved in the development of our Resourceful Skills Workshop programme, including from top right: Ruben Hamblett, Kerry Mulligan, Douglas Horrell, Emma Johnson, Trent Hiles, & from bottom right: Gemma Stratton & Marlo, Juliet Arnott & Greg Quinn. Not pictured are Stephen Brailsford, Stephanie Owens & Richard Hare.
Many of this group contributed to bring this furniture to fruition which is now found at Te Matatiki Toi Ora Arts Centre in the Boys High Building.
So a big reason for the Necessary Traditions festival is to enable people of all ages, and especially young people, to really experience the magic and the wonder of resourceful craft traditions that turn 'nothing' into 'something'.
To address this, we plan on gifting free festival tickets to a number of organisations & schools that support children & their whānau in the next 2 weeks to allow them time to arrange the support required to attend.
So to enable this, whilst also meeting basic festival costs, we need to have enough festival tickets purchased early, and of course for this we need your help! As gratitude to you for buying an early ticket we have arranged a discount of 15% until the end of Tuesday 23 October 2018.
So to buy your tickets with the discount you can click here to book your tickets for the main festival event & use the code NT*EARLY when you get to the payment stage.
Buying tickets early helps the Necessary Traditions festival find it's feet in this first year, and ensures we can make the weekend available to those who might not otherwise find this event accessible.
We thank you wholeheartedly for your support.
Occupational Therapist & Rekindle founder Juliet Arnott gave this TEDx talk, seen below, in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand in late 2017.
“Resourcefulness is a complex interaction between our inner resources and Earth’s resources, upon which we desperately depend. It is made up of a set of skills that enable us to meet our needs and live lives we have reason to value without damaging this beautiful planet."
“Traditional craft has become so displaced, but it could not be more relevant. Craft is the skilled relationship between us and Earth. Craft gives us the means to harness and care for the resources around us - to create what we need from we have. I believe craft should sit at the heart of our education and training so that we can all really build the foundations of our wellbeing.”
“Resourcefulness is an essential and practical tool for human and planetary wellbeing. It brings to life essential concepts like the Circular Economy and Kate Raworth’s ‘Doughnut Economics’.
And we need to see this reflected in our Living Standards Framework to really address our wellbeing. So to find the wellbeing that we all crave, look to your resourceful self, make the most of what you have, and build your life on the foundation of a resourceful and caring relationship with Earth as this is the most essential and healthy relationship you and I have.”
For more information on Juliet's work on resourcefulness please see Volume 1 of the Journal of Resourcefulness, a free PDF is available here. Volume 2 is due to be published in late 2019.