Alapana and the Mastery of an Art

640px-A_Lady_Playing_the_Tanpura,_ca._1735I occasionally post about my music interests on the blog.  I am no aficionado of Indian music but I certainly know what I like when I hear it.  Doing a little exploring on YouTube recently has led me to some remarkable players so I decided to share a bit from Jayanthi Kumaresh.  She comes from a family of Carnatic musicians dating back six generations and holds a doctorate in music.  She has been playing since the age of three and her mastery is beyond a doubt.  This woman really rocks.  After about 5:15 on the first video she really gets into gear.

The Veena she plays dates back in it’s current form at least 3,500 years giving it some significance in staying power if nothing else.  If you are interested in broadening your musical horizons there are plenty more links out there and services like YouTube and Vimeo are an excellent vehicle to expand knowledge.  Believe it or not, there’s more to the internet than conspiracy theories, social gossip, and cute animal videos.

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Article Series on Japanese Joinery

George Crawford:

A nearly lost art. Thanks for posting this great connection to Japanese joinery.

Originally posted on GREG MERRITT - BY MY OWN HANDS:

If you have an interest in Japanese joinery or joinery in general, then I would like to point you to an article series by John Bullar.  Mr. Bullar is writing this article series about Japanese joinery for:

Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine.

Mr. Bullar begins the series with a look at Japanese tools as well as pointing out that a person can execute these joints with traditional western tools.

jp_joint-fc-03 Photo used with permission of Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine. Also note the article title in the lower left corner… Just saying…

Let me say this, there is nothing magical about Japanese tools.  They are just tools and are solely dependent upon the skill of the user.  Now I’ll admit that their exotic nature is what first drew me to them.  The quality of the steel and ergonomics is what really hooked me.  The Japanese chisels and saws I absolutely enjoy using.  The kanna…

View original 283 more words

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Bark Basket

Bark - 1While sorting staves in the barn a long section of bark separated from a quartered trunk.  While this one is not from one of the usual species used for bark containers I decided to give it a try.  Bark is used as a raw material for making water resistant hats, bowls, quivers, and other containers far back into the mists of time.  From at least as far back as Mesolithic Europe to Pre-Columbian America, this type of “basket” has made it’s way into the human tool kit.  While this is not a tutorial proper, I took a few photos of the finished product.

Bark - 3The body is made from the whole bark of Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) and sewn with rawhide from deer.  The rim is constructed from a mesquite shoot split, steamed into a hoop, and sewn with rawhide.

Bark - 4It’s not perfect and probably won’t last forever as bark can be fairly brittle over a long time but will serve to hold some demonstration goodies for quite a while.

Bark - 2Have a look at a simple tutorial for a similar container by Ken Peek HERE.

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Make a Shop Apron

ApronsShop aprons are not as widely used as in the past.  I believe this is related to our modern view on clothing and how it has changed over the past century.  Not only are we training less in the trades, our clothes are ridiculously cheap in the modern world.  Low prices and availability keeps our incentive to protect them pretty low.  As I have reduced my quantity of clothing I have grown to appreciate the humble shop apron more than ever.  In the past, my only incentive was for protection when grinding metal or welding but now I begin to understand the real role a good apron can play in the shop.

A good shop apron can cost quite a bit of money ($40 – $100 or more) so I present the above catalog page as a starting point for construction.  Heavy canvas or leather are the obvious choices for material.  Although heavier, I prefer leather as is it is fireproof and offers some protection against cuts.  As for protection, here’s an image I found when looking for designs.  It’s from a Navy singlestick exercise.  Somehow the design seems familiar.


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Earth Day

YukoshimaForest“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.”
John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf


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