Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Sculpted Tealights Range Increased

Hand sculpted wooden tealight holders
We've just added a whole host of new hand-hewn hardwood Sculpted Tealight holders to the website, in both Yew and Hawthorn and with prices starting at just £9.95 + p/p.

Up until now our Sculpted Tealights have ranged in price from £25 - £35, and I wanted to create a greater range with some smaller tealight holders to compliment the larger ones, enabling a more balanced collection and the facility to create different 'arrangements' of tealights.


Sculpted wooden Yew tealight holder
Sculpted Yew Tealight Holder
It's taken me a while (more on that later,) but we now have Sculpted Tealights that range in price from £9.95 - £35 (+ p/p.)

I have also created some new ones in Hawthorn, rather than just sticking to Yew. I am really pleased with this, as they are a completely different feel, many with beautiful spalted effects from fungus. All of our Hawthorn Sculpted Tealight holders also come with details of their provenance, as it was us that gathered the wood. There is also a picture of either the fallen tree, or their 'donor' tree, if it was just a fallen branch.

Sculpted Hawthorn tealight holders
Sculpted Hawthorn tealight holders
Why has it taken me a while to create a wider range? Aside from being very busy with all the other pieces that I make and have made, I am also a bit resistant to creating these Sculpted Tealights. 
I once read an interview with an author where he was asked 'Do you like to write?' To which he replied 'I love to have written!' Making the Sculpted Tealights is a little like that for me. I love the finished result. I struggle with aspects of the process. The aspect I struggle with is the sanding!

There are a great many processes in every piece of work that I do, but, when it comes to the Sculpted Tealights, a great deal of these process steps involve sanding by hand. All of my work is sanded by hand in the final steps, but Yew is particularly demanding!

Sculpted wooden Yew tealight holder
I absolutely love the final stages of polishing the Yew tealight holders, as this is when I really see the beauty of the wood grain show. However, the previous stages of hand sanding are really hard work, and not at all my favourite activity. Yew is a very individual and defiant wood, with the grain running in many different directions. This means a far more involved and labour intensive process in the sanding, with a lot of concentration and changes in sanding direction, to suit the wood. Although it does polish beautifully, this finish can only be achieved with many different steps of hand sanding, with progressively finer sand paper. Yew also has a great sense of humour, and the grain pattern often mimics groves or scratches in the wood. Many a time I have been furiously sanding an area trying to eradicate a scratch or blemish, only to find that it's just a pattern in the wood! The final result always makes all this effort worth while, but I do have to frequently remind myself of this as I work on whole days of nothing but hand sanding! 

As before, all the tealight holders priced at £25 and above, are individually named, with a name that I feel evokes their energy and feeling tone.

Sculpted wooden Hawthorn tealight holder
Sculpted wooden Hawthorn tealight holder
I am also really pleased to have now added Hawthorn to the range. Hawthorn is one of my favourite trees and I also love the wood. The trees have so many interesting and twisted shapes. I have collected Hawthorn from several different sites, and each is quite different. Every piece of work purchased from Justbod comes with an information sheet about the piece. In the case of the Hawthorn Tealight holders, this also includes details of where the wood originally grew.

Please pop over to the main website and have a look at all the different sizes and shapes that are now available in our Sculpted Tealight range. I hope to do a similar 'makeover' with the Natural Tealights, but I'm having a break first by creating some new plaques!


Thanks for reading!

bod

Justbod Team





Justbod is a website featuring Celtic, Viking & Mythical wood carvings, sculptures and artwork by the Yorkshire artist bod:

http://www.justbod.co.uk/




See Collections for all of bod’s currently available works. 



Original article on bod's blog.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

York's 'Forgotten Castle' - Baile Hill

E Ridsdale Tate Panorama of York
York Panorama: By E. Ridsdale Tate (Wikimedia)

Standing forlorn and neglected on the west side of the Ouse, 
looking enviously across to its more attractive sibling, Clifford's Tower,
 lies Old Baile: York's forgotten castle, now known as Baile Hill.

If you didn't know what you were looking at, it is easy to walk past this unassuming 8 metre mound, covered with trees, incorporated in to the City Walls, sandwiched between Baile Hill Road and Bishopgate Street, with its constant traffic, streaming over Skeldergate Bridge.

In the beautiful illustration above by E.Ridsdale Tate, it is easy to see the site of the two castles (Baile Hill is the mound on the left, Clifford's Tower to the right.)

Baile Hill from City Wall, York
Baile Hill from City Wall, York
 
Baile Hill, Entrance to City Walls, York
Baile Hill, Entrance to City Walls, York
 
In the small tower on the end of the City Wall, and the base of the mound, is an excellent information board, but many people walk or drive past oblivious, on their way to Baile Hill's much more photogenic sibling.

Both were originally timber motte and bailey castles, built by William the Conqueror between 1068 and 1069.
 

Baile Hill from Bishopgate Street, York
Baile Hill from Bishopgate Street, York

In 1069 there was a violent rebellion in the North of England in reaction to the Conqueror's Norman Invasion. William's response was swift, and brutal, and became known as the 'harrying of the North.' Much of the North of England was systematically ravaged and William is reputed to have ordered the death of every living thing between York and Durham. This obviously also took place in York, as the centre of the rebellion, and sixteen years later the Doomsday Chronicle reports that 940 of the City's 1400 houses remained derelict.

The two castles of York were built against this backdrop and were designed as part of a system of defences, and control, for York, the two castles protecting the City and controlling all passage North via the Ouse.


Model of Clifford's Tower, York
Model of Clifford's Tower, York

A motte and bailey design was based on a central, fortified mound, or motte, usually surrounded by an inner ditch. There was in turn an outer bailey, comprising of a timber palisade and ditch. Some of these early Norman timber castles were later rebuilt and modified in stone.

The motte of the Old Baile, as it was once known, was about 12 metres high and 66 metres in diameter, and surrounded by a large ditch. Steps would have lead up to the mound to a fortified wooden structure on top. The bailey was roughly polygonal and enclosed 500 square metres. Its perimeter also consisted of an earthen rampart and ditch, some of it incorporating the old Roman wall of Eboracum.

After the rebellion had died down, the Old Baile served as a defensive structure for a further 100 years, but gradually began to fall out of fashion in the late 1200s, no one knows exactly why, but one theory is that 'York Castle'/Clifford's Tower is better placed as a single defensive structure, being placed between the rivers Fosse and Ouse.


City Walls, York, from Baile Hill
View along outside of City Walls from Baile Hill

In about 1194, the castle was given to the Archbishop of York. This caused a dispute to arise with the people of York arguing that it was outside the City's ditches, whereas the Archbishop argued that it was the Mayor and citizens of York's responsibility to upkeep. This argument raged for over a hundred years until, in 1423 the Archbishop was sued and forced to repair the part of the City Walls known as the Old Baile. In 1466 the Archbishop gave the castle to the Mayor and people of York.

The Old Baile briefly saw military service again in 1644 during the English Civil War, when it was used by Royalist troops as a gun emplacement during the siege of York.

Meanwhile York Castle/Clifford's Tower had been rebuilt in stone and gradually developed and expanded over the years (which is another story.) 

The Old Baile went further into decline, including the mound being lowered in the 1800s to aid grazing in the area, a practise which had continued since the time of the Normans, when the enclosed space, or Bayle, was given over for this purpose, military musters, shrove Tuesday games and archery practise. 

The area was excavated in the 1970s, revealing the remains of the timber buildings and palisade, and then left to its own devices.


Baile Hill, York
On Baile Hill, inside the trees...

So if you're ever in York, and passing, please say hello to the Old Baile and its history. It is a great place to start a walk on the City Walls, and it is also possible to jump down from the wall and climb the mound, there to pause and reflect on the inequities of time, and to close one's eyes and try to sense the past of this sadly neglected part of York's history.


Baile Hill, York from below
Baile Hill, York from below


Thanks for reading!

Anne

Justbod Team

Pop over and visit our main site

Artwork, carvings & sculptures
~ inspired by history & nature ~


www.justbod.co.uk
www.justbod.co.uk


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  You might also be interested in:

  A Tower of unknown date, a cross-section of York's past, and a Tragic Accident

   
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Tree of Life wall plaque in bronze & oak
Tree of Life wall plaque in bronze & oak

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Sources and References:

City of York Information Board, Baile Hill

Further Information:




Friday, 12 September 2014

The Church and the Standing Stone - Rudston's amazing monolith



Rudston All Saints Church and standing stone


The tallest standing stone in Britain, Rudston Monolith towers over the gravestones close to All Saints Church in Rudston near Bridlington. Estimated at close to 40 tonnes, and with a height of almost 8 metres, nearly two metres wide and a metre thick, it is possible that it extends as far below ground (according to an experiment conducted by Sir William Strickland in the late 18th century.) 

The stone has been capped with lead, to protect it, and it is possible that it originally stood higher, with a pointed top, as it appears to have broken at some time.

Rudston Standing Stone
Looking up: Rudston Monolith

The age of the stone is put at 1600 - 1000 BC. It is comprised of a type of gritstone, the nearest source of which is Cayton Bay, about 10 miles to the North of the site.

All Saints Church is Norman, and, although there may have been a previous Saxon church on the site (there is none recorded,) the monolith obviously predates the church substantially. The monolith was, presumably, far too cumbersome to remove, when the church was built here, on a site that had obviously been sacred for very many years.


Rudston All Saints Church and standing stone
Rudston Monolith in the graveyard of All Saint's Church

Legend says the stone was thrown at the church by the devil, but, due to divine intervention, or a poor aim, he missed.

It is believed that Rudston also owes its name to the monolith, possibly deriving from the Old English Rood-stane, meaning 'cross-stone.'

This was one of the first ancient sites I ever visited, and it still fills me with awe. The juxtaposition of the monolith to the church somehow seems to emphasise its mystery, and strangeness, as well as emphasising its colossal size!


Rudston All Saints Church and Standing Stone
Rudston All Saints Church and Standing Stone

I have always wondered about the various church congregations over the years, what their reactions might have been, and what discussions they might have had relating to the enormous and obvious presence within their churchyard!
 
Thanks for reading!

Anne 

Justbod Team

Artwork, carvings and sculptures by bod
~ inspired by history and nature ~


www.justbod.co.uk

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  You might also be interested in:

  Historic Goodmanham: an ancient pagan temple & a beautiful bench...

A magical wolf, a riddle of faces, a Celtic horse & the 'battle crow:' bod's Ancient British Coins

   
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   Tree of Life

www.justbod.co.uk

For regular updates of new work & special offers:  




Monday, 8 September 2014

bod's exuberant Hound

Hand sculpted copper & oak Celtic dog wall plaque

A wee article about the inspirations & ideas behind bod's popular hand sculpted metal & oak Hound.


I have always loved what is often referred to as Celtic Artwork, but in fact covers a long period of history. I imagine the roots of the art form are in the spirals and cup and ring markings left behind on the rocks and monuments by our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestors. Many speculations have been made as to their meanings, but we don't know. It is possible that some of these designs may have evolved from our ancestors relationship and closeness to nature, the spiral being one of her favourite and recurring themes. What is beyond dispute is their strange beauty and their seeming ability to call on long asleep parts of ourselves.

Cup and Ring markings, Weetwood Moor,
Northumberland Via Wikipedia: Creative Commons

Long may the enigma remain.

The Iron Age Celts developed these spirals into an intricate art that expressed their wild and childlike souls, and covered their bodies and possessions, often in amazingly intricate and skilful detail.

This language of knotwork and zoomorphic design saw further expression and development in Anglo-Saxon and Viking Artwork, so, even though remaining distinct, it is still possible to trace common roots back to an unremembered past. 

When Christianity was established in what is now the Britain Isles, the Celtic Monks wove their own versions of these amazing art forms into their beautiful, illuminated manuscripts, some of which still survive today.

Enter the Hound.....


Hand carved celtic Hound by bod
Visit our Just Wood Collection of hand carved pieces by bod.

The design is inspired by a detail in the Book of Kells, also known as the Book of Columba, which was created about 800 CE. It is currently on permanent display at Trinity College Library, Dublin, Ireland.

In the Book of Kells, three Hounds chase each other in a perpetual circle, tails entwined in mouths. I loved the design, but preferred the idea of one Hound running free, so adapted him a little and added a Celtic Triskele for him to jump over.

Fresh from the Justbod kennels.... a new 'pale and interesting' Hound. Hand-burnt Celtic / Anglo-Saxon-inspired design on a sycamore plaque.

So called because the Justbod team had become so used to me creating dark oak plaques, that this pale, white, sycamore plaque came as a bit of a shock when I first created another of my pieces, Guardian, on it. It quickly became dubbed as 'pale and interesting,' and the name stuck! 


Celtic Hound pyrography plaque
Visit our 'Pale & Interesting Collection

As I write this Hound is available from our website in a hand carved version, a sculpted silver and copper metal version and the new 'pale and interesting' version, which has been hand-burnt onto a sycamore plaque.


Handcrafted celtic metal and oak Hound by bod
Visit our Creatures Collection of hand worked metal


I hope you like Hound and his exuberant nature.


Thanks for reading!

bod

~ Justbod ~

Artwork, carvings and sculptures
~ inspired by history and nature ~

www.justbod.co.uk


www.justbod.co.uk
www.justbod.co.uk


You might also be interested in:

  Ancient bog oak & a Dark Guardian

 

The Celtic Tree of Life: 'Crann Bethadh'

 


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