I had the best time in Tassie. The highlight of course was all the craft I got to do with my friend's 14 year old son. He's into all the crafts I love - leathercraft and woodwork - with the added bonus of being into blacksmithing, something I'd love to learn but haven't yet had the chance to explore. He has lessons with a local, self-taught blacksmith and has made his own forge. Unfortunately on this trip we didn't have time to fire up the forge but I definitely plan on going back next year for a blacksmithing lesson.
I am incredibly envious of his outdoor campfire with homemade bench and tripod where he often cooks his lunch. Then there's the shed complete with workbench, vice and wood stove in one corner. And of course the forge under the eaves of the shed. Watching over everything is the surrounding bush and the scree on the mountain.
He's making the most amazing leather bags and pouches as well as carving spoons of all kinds from wood on their property, forging pendants and tongs and making Viking chess sets. I could happily spend a long time looking at all the incredible things he's made.
Of course I wanted to make one of everything when I saw all his incredible handmade items but I settled on a leather pouch, a mini book and a needle holder made out of huon pine. It was a tad ambitious trying to cram it all into two and a half days and I made many mistakes along the way!
I managed to sew the straps on to the pouch backwards and the front went all wonky. I discovered both mistakes late at night when I thought I had finally finished the pouch. The next morning I got up super early to make the mini book while everyone was asleep. All was going well until it came time to cut the slits on the cover for the strap and I did them the wrong way. It was the ingenious strap design that I fell in love with in the first place (I love elegant and functional design) and I really wanted to make it work but I couldn't see how. I was super bummed at this point. Both the things I had attempted came up duds.
It was when I was having a shower that I realised what I needed to do. (I find showers are so good for inspiration and clarity. I get my best ideas and poems when I'm in the shower.) I figured out I could turn the front of the mini book into the back and sew a little piece of leather over the cuts to hide them. It was a really good reminder to turn my mistakes into opportunities to be creative.
And it was at this point I let go of getting everything made before I left. I realised I'd have to finish / fix my projects when I got home. Especially if I wanted to have time to make a needle holder.
I guess you won't be surprised to learn that didn't turn out quite right either. Somehow the hole I drilled went wonky so we couldn't make it super long. I can get four of the leather craft needles I bought at Simon Martin Whips & Leathercraft into the case so it's not a complete bust at least. And I discovered that I love using a draw knife and it's now on my list of tools to get. I can see many more needle holders in my future!
It was awesome doing so much craft in such a short space of time with such a great craft companion. And I am so grateful for all the lessons a super charged crafting retreat provided. I was reminded of the beauty of letting go, of seizing the opportunity to be creative and of loving the imperfections of my handmade items.