- March 8th 2014
In late February I received a letter from Neil Oliver in Stirling Scotland. In his letter he very graciously thanked me for the presentation walking staff I had carved and sent to him. As I had always been impressed with his work, particularly the Viking documentaries, I thought I would challenge myself to see if I could actually carve an appropriate walking staff and have it delivered to his door in Scotland. I enjoyed the whole process although it did take 3 months to arrive. You can see the walking staff in the Walking Staff section under Cambuskenneth Walking Staff.
March 12th 2016.
Well it seems I've gotten through another Winter ok. Still intact. Looking forward to the warmer weather and starting some projects. I may cut back a bit with my carvings and tackle larger projects if requested. Walking sticks and horns will always be fun to do...and the most intense for me. I hope to be transitioning from the cottage to my home in Winnipeg to carve. I'm equally comfortable in each space. Freeing up the cottage will allow for more travel time with Lorraine and I'm ready for a change of some kind. I'll always keep my affiliation with the Museum in Gimli and will always have something there on permanent display. I'm always open to a project that someone requests and encourage inquiries. Over the past 16 years I've carved many pieces in all shapes and forms and have carvings distributed all over the world. I think I've come a long way from the early 80's when I had to carve children's toys to make ends meet at flea markets. I carved my first horn in 1984 and I still have that horn. Basically I'm one happy carver and life is good. Maybe I'm just being a little more select with the projects I will do. If something really interests me I'll get into a discussion with you if I think you're serious. I love the many window shoppers that contact me but I know it's difficult for a student with no job or anything else for that matter to inquire about a complex horn they would like. Fortunately I have a very good sense of humour and the Irish in me understands these things.
April 22, 2016 Since this is a blog of sorts, I thought I'd spell out a few thoughts I've had recently. The question I've been meditating on is "What is it that keeps me in the Viking spirit?" I see a lot of Viking types on Twitter and other sites on the web. I have no issue with that warrior look and the hell be damned attitude. Thats a big part of Viking initiation. The Viking series on History channel saw to that. Although not Hollywood, it's still Hollywood. After more than half a century thinking like an adventurer and dreaming of distant shores since I was 9 years old, I seriously would not want to tread where Vikings lived and fought 1000 years ago. Modern day Vikings have no clue about the customs and motivation for Viking actions so long ago. No, to me, being a modern Viking doesn't mean you have to look like an old version of a Viking. People who have had life not be very kind to them, or who have had their emotional crap beat out of them are the real Vikings. Rebounding back is a measure I regard as real strength. People who have been through the gates of hell and are recovering are generally kind to others and have a profound depth of awareness about them that makes them wise. We don't always recognize these modern day Vikings but they reveal themselves through their actions. It's called ...just being nice to others. As for warriors, some of the most incredible martial arts masters I've known are the ones you would least expect to be so deadly. Vikings do rise from the ashes these days and when you recognize one...a real one, it's a very pleasant experience and you won't have your life energy drained from you trying to strike up an awkward conversation. It's the Viking vibration that is all inclusive... worldwide. Just don't mess with us.
June 19th 2015.
Into the early summer...almost. I'm working on a pair of walking sticks that a friend would like as an anniversary gift for two of his friends. I'm leaning towards less a Viking themed pattern and more a Lord Of The Rings /Anglo Saxon feel. In some ways I've exhausted my Viking studies and I have a large body of work dedicated to Viking life. Although a switch to Anglo/Scandinavian would not alter my work that much, I feel I would like to explore a few other areas in the Anglo Saxon world. I don't think I'll call myself Anglo Saxon carver or anything like that, it's just a shift. I don't know how many times I was asked if I was Scandinavian. Admittedly I have a small toe hold in that dna pool but I'm mostly Anglo Saxon dna based. So as I shift away from The Viking World, I truly don't know where my carving adventure will now take me. I learned a lot, which only led me to a place where I know I have much more to learn
May 8th 2014.
After a considerably difficult winter it would appear that this coming weekend I'll make my way to the cabin on Lake Winnipeg and open things up. I have a few projects on the go and I'm anxious to get started. I spent a lot of time on social media over the winter trying to promote my work with that medium. I was particularly happy about the responses from Great Britain. For some reason I find that culture more tuned to history and arts (in particular woodcarving). I would really like to live and carve in either Ireland , Scotland , Wales or England. I find a true kinship with the culture. Such rich history.
August 18th 2014. Enjoying a beautiful summer. The Cottager magazine will be doing an article on my carvings for their Fall edition. I'm looking forward to that. It is a quality magazine with an extensive reach. I also was asked to write an article about Vikings for The History Is Now on-line magazine from Great Britain. I think I'm going through one of those times where you feel good about things that you do. I don't want to jinx anything but I do enjoy the good times.
November 21st, 2014. Winter is fast approaching and I have a few projects I would like to get done over the winter. One is a Diamond Willow walking stick that will have a 9th C. shield ring embedded. Similar to what a medallion would look like. Then I'll carve around it to highlight the ring. I purchased a massive horn to carve 22" long that will take all winter and into Spring to carve . I'm anxious to get started on that one. The "Ragnar" was purchased this Fall and is going to be Xmas gifted in the southern US.
Neil Oliver sent me a very nice photo of him with the walking staff I had sent him. The photo was taken at Cambuskenneth Abbey in Scotland. I am very honored that he took the time to do that for me.
December 18th 2014
Last week I had the pleasure of doing a radio interview on CBC with Terry MacLeod. He is a very nice man with a wealth of knowledge on so many Viking related topics. So I found his manner very engaging and I opened up to him a bit. We touched briefly on some of my artifact collection and then asked me about my carvings. Here is that conversation.