Keep in mind that I'm still very new. My poor playing quality is not a reflection on my teacher!
Monday, February 21, 2022
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
I've actually wanted to play the jouhikko for a decade or so, but only recently actually got started learning. I found a player on YouTube who is skilled, musical, and has a long history of playing the instrument and I contacted him to ask about lessons. And he agreed to take me on as a student! I've had 6 lessons so far and it is well worth getting the formal teaching. We have to communicate over Skype and since he lives in Norway, our time zones are 10 hours different. Which means I have a lesson at 10:30 pm and he's teaching me at 8:30 am the next day.
Jouhikko is pronounced approximately as "YO-hee-ko." The emphasis is strongly on the first syllable, not on the second, as most English speakers would be more comfortable with.
This instrument is a bowed lyre. It has a gently arched bridge, so two strings are played at a time. The center string is normally played as a drone. Notes are played with the back of the fingers gently touching the horsehair strings. The bow is tensioned with the fingers of the bowing hand.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
If you look over my blog, you'll see that I carve spoons. My primary tools are a hook knife and a sloyd knife. Sloyd is a Swedish word for wood crafting. Essentially, by saying "sloyd knife," I'm saying "wood working knife." But it is fun to use a foreign word.
I found out that a teacher and student teacher at my daughter's school are both spoon carvers, too. Because I want to be extra supportive of teachers right now, I thought it would be good to give them each a new sloyd knife. (I don't want to get into the whole concern about knives in schools. There are no students in that school right now, so it isn't a big thing to leave a knife in a wrapped package.)
I made the handles of Alaska birch. Blades are my usual repurposed spring steel. It is a good steel and I've been very happy with how it performs in my blades so far.
Here's a picture of the two knives just before I did the sharpening and stropping.
As usual, my mark is the rune Wyn/Wunjo (depending on if you use the Anglo Saxon or the Norse name for it). It looks like an angular P and it makes the sound of a W, so both my initials are there in one mark. Sort of fun!
Video of the process is also on the way. As with the blacksmith mini-seaxes, I chose to just make it a music video and play random tunes on my banjo. If I ever get any feedback from my videos, I'll get some idea of what people like in my YouTube channel.
Look for the video link tomorrow.
I know I haven't posted anything in months, but here's something, at least!
I made these two little blacksmith knives because I found a sketch in one of my old sketchbooks and realized that would be a fun little knife to bang out. Nothing profound, just a case of "why didn't I make this before?"
They are deliberately rustic and rough. But they are still comfortable and would fit the role of the non-folding pocket knife. I actually plan to make neck sheaths for them and have them hung like a necklace.
I also took a video of the whole process of forging them. Here are the highlights. I am trying something new, here. Instead of narrating my process, I decided to just play the banjo in the background.