Midsummer

Summer has brought with it a wonderful busyness, so that I have been focusing absolutely on the work and life before me. It has also meant that I spent about three weeks without even turning on my computer, let alone writing a blog post. So now I will do my best to get caught up…

I have traced a reverse path of human history, going from a sedentary lifestyle back to a semi-nomadic time. I began May with a trip to Stroud, in Gloucestershire. I was hosted by a dear family friend, Sibylle, who introduced me formally to the public footpaths of England. Although I have walked about a small amount, taking the time to explore the reaches of the paths was a giant leap in my awareness of the countryside. (For those who are unfamiliar, in England there are myriad footpaths crisscrossing the landscape, passing through a cow field, slipping by a garden, winding through a forest, all open to the public.) Besides walking through the landscape, I also had the fortune of meeting many lovely people in and around Stroud, a welcome change in my mostly solitary lifestyle the past few months. My encounters with new friends, and visits to inspiring places like Ruskin Mill College and the ASHA Centre, opened whole new dimensions of possibility for me, in just two short weeks.

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One of the walks near Stroud

From Stroud, I made my way across the country to catch a plane to Bologna, Italy. My brother Neal and his family were staying in the hills outside the city, and I spent four days with them. From the first meal on the evening I arrived, I passed the time in a state of constant fullness. That is, even though the mealtimes kept coming (as they do), and we kept eating (as one does), I was never really hungry. This was because I was inevitably still full from the last delicious meal where I had gorged myself. There was so much succulent flavor that my mouth is still watering to think of it. Aside from the food, it was a deeply inspiring and invigorating stay. It is difficult to put into simple words the absolute happiness of seeing those dear to me after many months. Throughout the simple daily activities, each moment was etched in shining crystal detail, to be remembered and cherished.

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A new coffee maker from Italy. Break time in the forge just got better.

Once I made my way back to the caravan, the work resumed in earnest. Between making stock for the year and working on some commission work of my own, we were getting all the details sorted for the upcoming axe making courses. (The benefit of this is I got many new upgrades – a shower curtain even arrived for the outdoor shower!) On top of this, Alex had three consecutive weekends of festivals, some just selling and others with demonstrations as well. I helped out for three days at River Cottage, a beautiful farm and cookery school founded by the chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal. It was another wonderful opportunity to meet new people, do some demos in the field, and be a part of an event with thousands of happy vacationers enjoying the summery air.

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Pocket bottle openers I made for Alex

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A black stainless steel bottle opener.

When Fredrik and Simon arrived, everything kicked into gear. After twelve days of axe making with thirteen students, everyone was tired but satisfied. Bringing some of the techniques from Sweden and Gränsfors to England created a fantastic blend of forging. Not only was the metal forged into some nice axes, but also new friendships were created through our work.

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One of a set of four candlesticks I made for a customer, each 1.2m tall.

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Detail of the legs.

Now I am back in Sweden, relishing in the beautiful feeling of summer in Hälsingland. I feel only excitement and anticipation for the future, with many of adventures and experiences to come. Stay well and happy in the moments of each day!

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