Monday, 26 March 2012

Traditional Craft Of Fletching

Arrows predate all recorded history and were common to most cultures which means they have been made for many centuries using only organic materials. It is archery itself and the choice of materials and craft techniques used that interested me in having a go at fletching (arrow making). My experience is extremely limited as this is the first set of arrows I have attempted to make from scratch. A bit of research soon told me that there was a lot more to it that one would expect, I decided to dispense with the finer technicalities and concentrate on just the basic principles.

 The photos above and below illustrate the basic construction of the nocks. The nock is the rearmost end of an arrow that keeps it in place on the string as the bow is being drawn. I have used both bone and horn for the nock inserts that provide a little more strength than just a simple slot cut in the back of an arrow. Horn inserts were commonly used in medieval arrow construction.

 I had to taper the tips of the pine shafts for the fitting of the  points (piles) and have chosen a set of steel piles similar to those used during the medieval period for target practice. I decided against broadhead tips as these are only practical for war and hunting. Bullet shaped target points are designed to penetrate target butts easily without causing excessive damage.

 Keeping with tradition, goose and turkey are the feathers of choice for the conventional three-feather fletchings. The arrows fletchings provide the drag required to stabilize the arrow's flight. It is important to use three feathers from the same wing as a bird's wing feathers are handed with a slight curve.

Three feathers used from the same wing will give the arrow some spin, which also improves accuracy. If you mix left and right wing feathers, your arrow will not fly true. The image above shows the feathers cut to shape. There is a wide possibility of shapes and sizes, each with different effects on flight. I have chosen to stick with a size and shape that ties in with the arrows overall medieval period.

 The positioning of the feathers is as far back towards the nock as is comfortably possible and I've taken care to line them correctly with the nock's slot. After tacking the feathers in place, it is time for the final binding which will hold the the feather firmly to the shaft. I have used a fine linen mostly and also hemp for the binding. (shown in the photo below)

 With a completed set of 12 arrows, some kind of quiver was required to keep them together. I decided to make a simple tubular design from giant Himalayan nettle, buffalo leather and a touch of red squirrel pelt. The nettle fabric is truly organic as it grows wild and is harvested, retted, spun and then woven in the remote Himalayas much in the same way that it has been for centuries. The buffalo leather also comes from Nepalese villages.

The completed quiver of 12 arrows shown below.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Carved Bamboo Vase

Bamboo is a material I wouldn't usually consider for a vase, but during a recent trip to a friends house in Pokhara, Nepal, I was surprised to see the size and thickness of the wild bamboo growing next to their house and also grateful to be able to cut a short length for later use in the UK.

I saw a lot of large bamboo growing in Japan, but had never cut through any to check the thickness. As the photo below shows, the thickness of the bamboo allows for deeper carving than I had ever imagined. I gave the section of bamboo plenty of time to season as I would rather see splitting before creating the vase than after its completion.

The finished vase is a simple design with a slightly fluted neck. I feel now that I could have cut deeper into the bamboo for the neck, but was worried about compromising its strength. The lugs are from a different wood and have been attached after hand stitching the buffalo leather covering. I thought a large betel nut would not only look nice, but also tie in with the other materials. The bamboo, buffalo leather cover, betel nut and goat leather cord are all sourced in Nepal.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Recycled Wood

An issue that we constantly face is being able to find fixtures and fittings for our stall that tie in with our needs. In keeping with our range of organic products, we find it hard to source natural boxes and display cases that are both truly organic and meet the dimensions needed.

We find it is much easier, quicker and cheaper to create our own fixtures and fittings from the materials we love to work with and what could be better than recycling materials that would end up being burnt! The above photo shows some of the display boxes made from old fence panels. The wood is light and extremely easy to work with and most importantly, it ticks all the boxes of our stalls requirements. Seasoned logs and branches are also given a new lease of life as we use them for signage, shown below.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Green Fair Confirmed

London Green Fair 2012

The London Green Fair is a free festival that reflects the green aspirations and achievements of London as a whole, as well as providing an enjoyable and engaging day out for people from all walks of life. In the prestigious setting of The Regents Park, central London, the London Green Fair will be an interactive smorgasbord of both serious and suggestive takes on the environmental issues that affect us all. Building on the success of the 19 year history of Camden Green Fair, the London Green Fair is a natural progression and exciting evolution for this original and great event.
We at Sorazora are looking forward to this event and hope to see all the old faces from the previous years and lots of new faces, too! 

Visit their website for more details

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

More Confirmed Events For 2012

Paddle Round The Pier 2012

Brighton's West Pier will be the setting for this year's event over the weekend of 7th & 8th July. The original Paddle Round The Pier started back in 1996 and quickly gained an international reputation as one of the hippest fund-raising events there is. The original concept was to bring all the surfers in the area together for a social gathering and to raise money for a variety of worthy charities. The main event is accompanied by lots of entertainment on land, these include music stages, beach sports, kids' area, skateboarding workshops and much more. We had the opportunity of visiting last year's PRTP as customers and are proud to announce that Sorazora will be exhibiting our ethical and organic products at this year's event.

Visit their website for more details

Guants House Summer gathering 2012

Held in the beautiful grounds of Gaunts House, Dorset from the 9th to 12th August, the Summer Gathering provides a family-friendly atmosphere full of quality workshops, therapies, speakers and inspirational music. This is the 22nd Summer Gathering and one particular change that Sorazora are delighted to hear about is that Buddhafield Cafe will be providing the majority of the catering. This festival is a beautiful, inspiring, fun event for all ages.

Visit their website for more details

Monday, 5 March 2012

First Confirmed Events For 2012

Maverick Festival 2012

It will be our second visit to Easton Farm Park in Suffolk, the venue for Maverick festival. This year it will be held through June 29th, 30th & July 1st and will again host a wide selection of  Americana and roots music from both sides of the atlantic.
Maverick is a perfectly sized festival for all the family.

Visit their website for more details

WOMAD 2012

WOMAD needs no introduction as it is one of the main festivals in the UK. Held again at Charlton Park, Wiltshire and running from July 27th to 29th, it will be Sorazora's fourth year of exhibiting. It is an internationally established festival that pulls artists in from all over the globe in a celebration of world music, arts and dance. This is a very large festival that is great for all the family.

Visit their website for more details