Tag Archives: art

paying homage to wood… thank you SwittersB


I would like to share a conversation that I feel privileged to have just had with a gentleman far, far away. Across the Atlantic, SwittersB is a celebrated master of the blogosphere. For some time now, I have enjoyed being inspired by his often deep, sometimes humorous and always well pitched blogposts. Tonight it was all about wood. After my comment on a picture he’d posted of his Uncle Felix’s craftsmanship that has not only stood the test of time – it actually seems to have improved with age, Mr. S kindly wrote the following back to me:

metiefly:

Stunning workmanship – your Uncle Felix is so talented. Wood has such a phenomenal grace to it. What floors me is that every piece comes from the air that we breathe, from the process that provides our oxygen! Bravo Mother Nature – we salute you!

SwittersB:

I so agree. Right now I have a stack of odds and ends of scrap lumber from a renovation project. The tradesmen left it all behind. I have culled out pieces I may have a use for. I have posted in Craigslist 5 times for free lumber and not one taker. Today a drop box arrived and it will go into the box and in some form of fashion be returned to the earth. But it seems wrong as my Uncle, my Dad, my father in law now loved wood. Something vital about it and I respect those that can work with it.

His words make me think… In the hustle and bustle of our busy, whizzy modern lives, most of us hardly have time to stop and speak to each other face to face, let alone spend time catching up with our inner thoughts. Perhaps that is why once in a blue moon I love to make time for an ancient art that is so simple, yet our grandfathers and their fathers would laugh and possibly even cry to think that only a handful of youngsters could name it if they saw it: Whittling.

All one needs is a little blade and a piece of wood. A measure of patience maybe. A serving or two of imagination. A genuine love of wood. The ability to marvel at nature while you work…

I made this mouse out of a tiny block of birch for my nephew a few years back:

Begging for a tickle...

Begging for a tickle…

birch wood is hardy and fun to carve. It has a really beautiful, speckled grain...

birch wood is hardy and fun to carve. It has a really beautiful, speckled grain…

mouse in the house

mouse in the house!

birch mouse... A toy for life. Will it get passed down the generations?

little birch mouse… A toy for life. Will it get passed down the generations?

Different wood has different character – do you like cherries?

Most people walk past an old piece of cherry wood like this... Little do they know how much joy lies inside it!

Most people walk past an old piece of cherry wood like this… Little do they know how much joy lies inside it!

This helps the imagination:

I have often stated how much I like green necked parakeets - turns out my niece does too!

I have often stated how much I like green necked parakeets – turns out my niece does too!

Hours of contemplation and a good deal of sanding, plus a slick of olive oil:

almost ready!

almost ready!

The end result:

Here's wishing it provides it's owner as much joy as I had making it!

Here’s wishing this little parrot provides it’s owner as much joy as I had making it!

Thank you for reading as always – please return soon.

Form and function – creating the ultimate fly is a lifetime’s work


Forethought and preparation play prominent roles in so many aspects of our lives. Rightly so – especially these days in our professional capacities or, say, when organising logistics for that once in a lifetime holiday. It’s exactly the same in fishing. Once you get to the water’s edge though, there is much to be said for spontaneity.

You have to be able to tune in and absorb everything around you… What’s actually happening under the water, on the surface, and in the sky? Is there a storm brewing? Is there a glut of insects or baitfish, or a spate of floodwater adding to the confusion? Are you frightening the fish? Knowing how to read and interpret all the signals, then to adapt to different conditions was crucial in bygone times when repeated failure to catch threatened our ancestors’ ability to survive. We are all descended from the ones who made it!

Nowadays for the vast majority of us, the consequences of failure are usually less drastic, however if we are open to learning, we can still tap into those in-built lessons. Keen observation, prudent choices and appropriate actions will mostly yield us the best chances of catching fish. Now for an ultimate truth: EVEN THE BEST ANGLERS HAVE BLANK DAYS!!

In my experience, these are usually the best days of all for they force one to really engage… To try everything. To pit oneself against Nature in all her dominant glory. Is it really that bad if you haven’t caught a fish? I may be incorrect, however I think it was Henry David Thoreau who stated “every day spent fishing is another day added to your Life” We cannot lose if that’s the case!

When I tie flies I’m looking for the answers to questions that only blank days can and will ask… What else can I add, or often more importantly, should I leave off the hook that will entice even the most stubborn of fish? I’ll sleep on these thoughts many times, revelling in dreams of pristine waters and untouched wilderness…

This fly caught eight fish in one day... On 24March 2012

This fly caught eight fish in one day… On 24March 2012

Thanks for reading, please visit again soon!