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I think it started when a friend of mine who makes knifes and leather sheaths, gave a demonstration of how to make a leather knife sheath at a bushcraft meet up in Ashdown forest. I watched with fascination as he went from a paper template to this rough looking leather sheet, and transformed it into a functional and nice looking sheath. I thought “I’ll have a go at that!”, and so I did. Now a couple of years on, I would consider myself a hobbyist leather maker, and I have been experimenting with making various things out of leather such as knife sheaths and belt pouches. I have had some very encouraging comments on my work, from some of my good bushcrafty friends, and I have been advised on a number of occasions that - I should start a website, so here it is!
I should explain the bushcraft connection…..I have always been into the outdoors. I love wildlife and being out in the countryside, whether that is hiking around our beautiful country, or sitting quietly in the woods listening to the sounds and watching the animals around me. As a kid I got hold of a copy of “the SAS survival handbook” by John “Lofty” Wiseman, and it painted this picture of someone being able to live off the land, making fire without matches, making shelter and animal traps, eating wild plants that were commonly growing everywhere, and it made me think about how much I didn’t know about what was around me. As an adult (Loosely speaking!), I watched Ray Mears on TV basically playing out Lofty’s book in small 10 minute chunks on his “Tracks” series in the 1980’s, and I was hooked. Once I got the chance to have a go myself, I got involved with a fine group of fellow bushcrafters, and discovered that there were plenty of people out there with similar interests.
For me, the word Bushcraft is a bit of a misused word. Everyone probably has their own opinion on what it means to them, but for me, it is learning to open your eyes and see all of the potential around you within the natural world. This could be learning what certain plants are called and their uses, it might be learning to create and manage a fire to cook on without the usual commercially available gadgets, it might simply be learning to just sit quietly somewhere and just observe the going’s on within nature and see beyond the obvious.
Please email me with any feedback or comments that you might have, I’d love to hear what you think!