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Curly Gipsy Flowers

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:32 pm
by simon
I can make passable gipsy flowers, but only get curly ones if the wood is getting dryish.

Is there a technique to get curls every time. Heated rollers?
I think Fleetpeople was showing people at the Bodgers Ball, can you describe it here?


PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:33 pm
by robin wood
There is a technique for curly found it use dry wood, or semi dry or just about dry enough to get a nice curl but not too curly. :D

If using green wood you can get a little more movement by using whatever blade you use at an angle rather than 90 degrees to the wood, this works well on dry wood too and gives a nice spiral to your flowers.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:58 pm
by Bob_Fleet
Hi Simon, nice to see my hat again. I'll be using it again this weekend at the Border Union Show making, you guessed it - gipsy flowers.

We never did get the flowers workshop together although it was proposed that several of us did a demo.

You're right though.
The wood needs to be dried before it will curl properly.
If it's green you get 'gipsy squid' a bit like the one in Gavin's hat in his avatar. That was only cut a week or so before.
They'll still curl if the wood isn't completely green but not so well.

The ones on the home page were made by Twiggy at the previous Bodgers Ball.
Here's a shot of them in the 1/2 hour challenge on the judging table and I still can't do them that well. Mine are more like dahlias than her chrysanthemums.
There are a few gipsy squid too.

The wood will curl in several directions depending how you cut.
If you pull the draw knife directly towards you with the blade at right angles to the stick the curls are like a millipede curled up.
However, if you start at one end of the blade and slice as you go then the curl comes off in a spiral. Slice the opposite way and the spiral goes the other way.

One thing you can do at a demo is actually charge people to make their own, and they're pleased to do it. Mine go to The Mercy Corps usually.
Make sure they are wearing a hat though, it's a tradition, well maybe a modern one but you know the hat. very photogenic.

I quite often let them skin the stick and then I do the first round of cuts so they can use them to stop their own as that seems to be the tricky bit for newbies.
Also you usually need to remind them to try and keep cutting right back to this line as there is a tendency to 'creep' up the stick and not thin it to a point. You end up with a very pretty stick that way.
Survivalists use these as firestarters.

I usually use hazel because I can get it. A friend likes elder as it has a pithy centre and you don't need to driill a hole to put them on a stick.

Hope this helps. I feel a video coming on.



PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:18 pm
by Nicola Wood
"Gypsy squid" ... I like it :lol:

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:58 pm
by simon
Many thanks for all that. I cut some hazel yesterday and want to demo on Saturday. I suppose I'll have to stick to squids, or save the wood for later.

Patience is a vertue after all.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:29 pm
by robin wood
3 days no problem, peel your sticks whilst green, bark comes off much easier let them stand up in a sunny windy spot for 24 hours and they will curl nicely.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:12 pm
by Bob_Fleet
Robin's right and you should have no problem.

I'd be tempted to cut a few that will fit the microwave and do a bit of rapid seasoning as a trial.
There will be more waste as you will only get one out of each bit and have to leave enough to grip.
You'll know in an hour or two.
Good suggestion though to skin them first.
Get them to almost boiling point and then allow to cool in the air to allow steam to evaporate (OK I know the physics and that doesn't happen and it's all water vapour we see but it describes it best) if you get too hot they'll boil and crack.
Several shots on low would probably be enough.

Let us know how it goes.
meanwhile I'll watch the news for any strange fires or explosions in Norfolk.


PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:31 pm
by Bob_Fleet
The video.
The detail isn't great but I managed to make a sharp stick.
Let me know what you think.
The professional video was on ITV Borders News on Friday when I made one at the Border Union Show. Well - all of 5 seconds worth.
BBC videoed me working on a chair leg and it's meant to go out on the One Show next month. I think it's a bit of filler as they were following Carol Thatcher who was showing a bull at the show.
A bit more bodging on the box.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:42 pm
by Nicola Wood
Lovely to see your video Bob - I like the way you can control the curl with the angle of the cut, not figured that one before. Shame the sound quality was a bit dodgy - was there some background noise or maybe it was wind noise? What are you using for video editing? If you have something that'll accept stills too it's good to cut in a shot of what you're going to make at the start to help people understand.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:39 pm
by Bob_Fleet
Thanks Nicola. First attempt using Windows Movie Maker. Didn't even realise I had it until someone suggested looking.
Managed to get some bits cut out and all of the clips joined together though. The ITV one was better.

I'd like to put a new sound track on it (and improve a load of other bits) so it's there saving space for that. 'Wind noise' was families etc. at our Wild in the Woods. About 30people and dogs etc. all day - natural fire starting, BBQ, willow charcoal sticks, elder whistles, someone made a spoon, gipsy flowers, bug hunts and building dens (sorry - shelters).
And I'll definitely need to oil the shaving horse. I never realised how noisy it was.

Now, how do I add a still, edit the sound, record a sound track, add music, add captions and get the right shots to start with?

The irony is that it only really needs good shots of the angled cuts and one of those stopped short.

More for another day.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:50 pm
by Robin Fawcett
fleetpeople wrote:Now, how do I add a still, edit the sound, record a sound track, add music, add captions and get the right shots to start with?

Stay up all night biting your knuckles !

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:55 pm
by simon
Great video. Thanks for your advice. I peeled the bark on Thursday evening and left the sticks out in the sun on Friday. They were just right for Saturday.

Blazing hot, and I spent longer talking than turning, but a good day.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:46 pm
by Nicola Wood
fleetpeople wrote:Now, how do I add a still, edit the sound, record a sound track, add music, add captions

Sorry, I use a mac / pro software so I can't help you with that.

fleetpeople wrote:and get the right shots to start with?

That takes time and patience ... and infill with stills you add later to paper over the cracks! Try not to talk and work too much at the same time. Get get some wide angle shots of talking and zoom in on the action showing just hands working. Then you start with a talking shot, cut to a hands shot and dub the rest of the talking over the appropriate bits of working. That way you avoid boring shots of someone just sat there talking and can edit the speech over the hands shots so it flows.

I spent hours dissecting other peoples videos when I first started. I still can't watch any sort of film without subconsciously taking it apart and analysing what worked and what didn't :oops: I still sometimes get back with an hour of tape and struggle to get a 3 minute youTube clip out of it!