Mittwoch, 26. Oktober 2011

Busy weekend...Kornmarkt in Witten

 Last weekend was somewhat busy for me. On Friday I went to the smithy to prepare some tools for the weekend and do some knifework. Top to bottom:

Celtac design, ball bearing steel, rather thin at 3 mm x 115mm length

EDC En-Nep, 3 mm x 85 mm, laminate wrought iron / tank bearing steel

Integral En-Nep, spring steel

Two "Birka" pumpkin carving and  kitchen knives made from spring steel in autumn:-). Great for stuffing zucchini and cucumbers and the like, too, and work like a cinch on pumpkins.

And another friction folder blade. Spring steel, and yap, I shortened the tang;-). And cleaned up the surface, too, for it was bit of... erm ... scrawny?;-)

On Saturday Volker and myself set up the forge in Witten city, and it was mayhem from the beginning on. My task was pumpkin carving AND smithing AND filing AND cleaning up the works of the kids, all at once. 10 hours full tilt, no food, no drink except for a brief excursion to the toilet and a bite or too around lunchtime. At around 5 pm I had severe cramps and bonked hard.
 The pumpkin carver up close. I worked some 300 pumpkins with it and do not have to sharpen it, seems I got the tempering right:;-).

 Was a nice and friendly atmosphere on both days, with a crowd of reenactors, craftsmen, French grocers and good-natured visitors. It was one ofr the hardest weekends I have ever done, but it was simply a joy and it felt good except for some oversize uillean pipes next to my ear on Saturday for hours on end (KAMPFTRÖTEN!!!!!;-))
 Enter the witch...:-)
 Those guys really rocked the house. With a drum, a lute and some singing. No microphone. No lightshow, just two musicians. Great job, bros!:-)

 This is Susanne, the traditional onion witch...
 A carousel which the kids really enjoyed. Powered by a brute pushing:-).
 The woodturner´s booth. My favourite place.

This is Johannes from He offered courses for kids and adults alike and is another friendly guy I had the privilege to meet.
 The location in Witten city near the Jhannis church.

 Kids really had fun with the pumpkins, and I had enough work to do not to get bored:-).The kids just carved the pumpkin, I hollowed it out on Saturday. On Sunday people had to buy the pumpkin and I did all the carving. Mind you, I can carve a pumpkin now:-). Kidding aside, it was a great practice, and taught me a lot!
 I also explained a lot what the real meaning of Samhain was, and why people carve pumpkins to put outside their doors. Many people were there and I daresay some of them will want to know more about the feasts of the year and the traditions linked to them, either Pagan and Christian ones. I sincerely hope they use that grey matter inside of their heads for something more than and aside from shitting, eating, and hating.
 This little guy always came back for more and really enjoyed carving. He will visit the Bethaus soon, we´ll make a knife and a handle. Plus, I talked his Da´into buying him a Mora;-). That´s fun...:-)

 On Saturday night and Sunday morning I had some time to spare and made this folder assembly. Turned out a bit different, but  okay still. I´ll keep the progress shots coming!
 Made the tang sort of leaf-handled.:-)
 Whoooooooooooooo-TRICK OR TREAT!!!;-)
 Quizzical question: Where´s the pumpkin;-)?
 There also was some theatre play going on...
And that was some great, great music aside from oversized uillean pipes. Wibke played some really nice Scottish and Irish folk and own songs on her first solo tournée. You can contact her via

Made working next to the stage a real cinch. Thanks for those really nice and gentle songs!

I came home on Sunday night a wreck, but I was deeply contented by the thought of having done a great job with great people and getting to know interesting people who love what they do, too. I bonked hard at the end of both days, but it gave me more energy than it all cost me. It was simply a great experience being there, having fun with the kids. Volker is simply a great guy to work with, too. And I am right grateful for the course my life is taking these days.

Mittwoch, 12. Oktober 2011

The works of Mielenko Bednacz

On a Sunday long ago:-) I dropped by the "Zeche Nachtigall", an ancient mine around these parts that´s a museum now under the patrony of the Landschaftsverband Westfalen Lippe (Regional association for social wellfare, culture and history). I came there to visit Mielenko and Eva, his smith´s apprentice.
 That´s Eva, working on another work of art. She made a sculpture with a lot of fine chiselling work that day. Seems it pays off to be apprentice to a real master!;-). Talking of which, I asked Mielenko if he´s care to feature him in this blog, and he did not want to. He said, he had done it all in his life and had no need of standing in the ramplight. He also said there were many people ranting about how good they were, and it were better to let the deed do the talking. Since I respect him very much and am really amazed by his work, I will not rant about how good he is. I will not go on ranting about his skills. But showing photos I can, and his work speaks his word better than I could.
 This, for example, is a detail of his forge.
 This flower is not "production run". Those you can buy were modelled after these.
 Remember: This is a detail of a forge.
 A portfolio of Mielenko´s work.
 This is "aunt Mary";-) as Mielenko called her...
 I love making knives like this one myself. I have yet to make one that is as comfortable to the hand as this one. This style normally works best for lighter kitchen tasks and the like, but having played this one in my hand, it´s a real worker. If you´d ask him for a price, you were astonished.
 This is a hatchet out of high carbon spring steel and mild steel. It´s razor sharp, frightening sharp to be exact.
 The total of the hatchet and a miner´s pick. Those were formerly part of a miner´s dress attire. This one is a real tool, too, not some flimsy souvenir. Made from high-carbon-spring steel, too.
 And this is just a simple nail;-).
 More nails. Check out the surface!
 A striker. I do notknow how he did it, but it´s made from spring steel, too - and throws sparks like mad.
 Ah yes, I nearly forgot... this is a simple forging tool. I heard it say that by a hammer you can tell a smith...
 The anvil´s block...
 The anvil´s mount.
 The anvil. He welded a hard plate onto the body the way you can see... this he did with the tools at hand.
 The ventilation system of the forge has two separate pipe systems, allowing for a very versatile airflow. One strong for welding, one lower intensity for delicate work and tempering. Plus you can adjust the airflow by two additional regulation systems. The forge can be completely taken down in. Each and every part of it can be replaced. Amazing. And, a detail often overlooked: This tool has seen some pretty hard work, but I could have my dinner from its surface.
 Mielenko and Eva working together. It was simply a joy to watch them work together.
 The master at work.
 Without words...
 "Tante Mary" up close;-).
This is a simple tool....;-)

Mielenko and Eva gave a lot to me that day. I have learned a lot and gained a lot of inspiration, too. For this, I am very grateful, and I hope, this little post does them justice the way they deserve. I want to epress my deepest respect for the master. He is of a kind that does not exist anymore. I hope, and I work with all my strength for his kind one day being existent again the way it deserves.

As the true creators of human civilisation.

Flea market in Schwelm-from dawn ´til dusk :-)

 On Sunday it was some good hard work again, this time for my employer on the famed flea fair:-) in Schwelm. Got a flea market? THAT´s a flea market*ggg*! Some 1000 m of booths, up to 80000 visitors, and the small town bursting with people. Shops open,  there´s an artist´s mile, and no new goods whatsoever. No beeping electric toys, no flying merchants praising their special refuse clothing, and a kick up the butt if you try to sell them.
 Those are our thugs kicking butts:-). I worked with them, and I am just kidding, of course. They are a very friendly crowd, and certainly know how to be polite. In fact, there´s a good-natured atmosphere on the market, people having fun, music and sharing food and drink. Some black sheep, of course, but those are few. Even if it became slightly difficult, it was a pleasure to work with those gals and guys!
 Enzo having "Bratwürst"*ggg* and obviously liking it:-). Thanks to Tschierse Catering which offered us delicious food at bargain prices!
 The squad ready for battle:-).
 This is one of the many reasons I like this market. Quality antiquities, and many tales to tell. Glassware, porslain, clothing, tableware and cutlery, I can tell you, I could hardly keep my countenance:-).
 This city is crammed full.
 Khalil was there again, and we had a nice, good-natured chat.

...und Katha kriegt was Schönes, lalalala.*gggg* nur was?*g*

 We sold those wildflower seeds like hotcakes. This was great, for we sold seeds for roundabout 2500 square metres, resulting in a huge increase in bio-diversity and loads of food for bees and insects, plus beautiful colours everywhere next year.

 We sold this hiking guide that the AGU wrote about the Schwelm region. It has many great pics and offers hiking trails to natural monuments in the region.

 There were many traders, and they were all kind of nervous, for the weather forecast spelled catastrophe. A very close friend:-), erm, a part of my soul*ggg* made some hard work pushing the clouds aside, though, and so it started to rain when all was said and done. Thanks for those kind thoughts, and thanks for everything, and all*ggg*.
This is Axel, my colleague, with whom I patrolled the booths to weed out those infidels who had not paid:-). Axel is a great man to work with, always with a good-natured joke, and a friendly and laidback guy to boot. ´twas a joy! This is a trader he was acquainted to since his childhood.
Checking the bill...
Oi, Axel, keep those hands ter yerself*ggg*!!!

 Many visitors in spite of the weather...
 ... and good business for the traders, too. Most were quite content and will return next year, to the 72nd fair, which will take place on May, 6th.
 Axel was pleased.... has  a  cool moustache...*ggg*
Of course, I had to work until late in the evening, resulting in some 18 hours of work and riding to work and back home. But it did not bother me any, for it was a great event. I was bonking hard when I came home, but I had a day off on Monday and relished in the luxury of sleeping late:-).

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