So, due to Winter(tm), and the associated weather, my outside brewing has been limited, lately. Instead, I've got three batches of mead burbling away. One is a traditional, made with Radish and Christmasberry honeys; the second is a Blackberry/Raspberry melomel, with these berries in some blackberry honey; the third is my wife's popular Cranberry, with varietal honey and two pints of homemade cranberry sauce. The ciders from the fall (2.5 gallons of perry, 5 gallons of apple) are seemingly quite happy, as well--settling out and clearing nicely.
So, given the abundance of "free time," I've been playing with wood. But not just any playing--no, being me, this is SCA playing.
I wish I could say that I'm using period tools, but I'm just not there yet. (Yes, I did say 'yet.') I'm working up to using period materials--I want to get some basic skillsets down before I go whole-hog and pay the pretty pennie$ necessary for the right wood varieties. So, I'm practicing on and off with chest-making; I've got a pair of Mastermyr-style chests done. I really like them--the sloped sides are aesthetically pleasing to me--but finding hardware is a pain. I'm working up to being able to make my own--but blacksmithing is a whole 'nother skillset...
Most of the fun, though, has been woodturning: bowls, cups, and plates.
It's relatively early days, yet. I'm almost to where I really want to be with the basics--I don't have to do much post-processing (sanding), if I take my time and work methodically. Still, I'm running 45 minutes to an hour per vessel; I might be able to bring it to more like 30 minutes, given enough practice.
|Drinking vessels, in assorted birch, maple, ash, and cherry. Banana for scale.|
I'm doing quite a bit of study, too, to find period-appropriate shapes and styles. Oddly enough, wood types matter here, too, although it's not quite as crucial. Most of what I've been turning have been drinking bowls and cups--and they tended to be maple, ash, or birch, depending on what part of the world you were looking at. (Maple seemed to be a universal; ash and birch--mostly ash--were popular in Russia, while alder and birch seemed to be favored in England.)
So, I'm doing up a class, for Gemutlichplatz (a semi-local event, focused on brewing and brewers), on turned wooden drinking vessels. I hope to have enough examples to do a bit of drinking with them, too.
But a thought which struck me, recently: how much demand is there, in the SCA community, for period wooden drinking vessels? Is there enough to support my getting a business license, and peddling them at the odd event or two? Perhaps an Etsy shop? I've been thinking about this more than a little bit, lately... Perhaps three "tiers" of wares, to start:
At the least, it might support my hobbies somewhat--even if only to make the turning sustainable. (Woodturning is an amazingly fun way to make a whole lot of wood shavings...) I have designs, eventually, on making some pottery and pit-firing it, too--probably using the shavings from turning--which might find its way, eventually, into the second or third tier of the storefront. Add in carved things (spoons, bowls--particularly the big dough/bread trays), and it starts looking really interesting.
- Period material and design (researched design);
- Period design, modern selection of material;
- Plausibly- or non-period design (inlays, etc.), modern material.
I plan on gauging the reaction at Gemutlichplatz, and asking a few trusted individuals between now and then, and making my decision towards spring. If I do go for it, it wouldn't be before fall; I'd have to build up an inventory. What say you, good Reader? Is there interest?
Labels: class, Gemutlichplatz, mead, Pear Cider, plans, projects, teaching, Wood