Monday, 13 September 2010

Sami Folk Art: The Kuksa

While the last Kuksa I showed you was very nicely made, it was a bit too nicely made, if you know what I mean. I traded for these two with Gary from Bearclaw Bushcraft and Nordmarken Canoe UK, he had picked them up in the Sami winter market, they have a charming unevenness to them gained as they were whittled to shape by the fireside. The Sami tradition is to soak the finished cup in salt water to bring out the grain in the burl wood. As the burl is a mutation of the tree the grain no longer grows in the straight lines we're used to seeing, it tumbles in on itself creating random patterns and becoming far more resilient against splitting. Ideal for a piece of wood that's expected to get wet.

Here you can see the transition between the 'figured' wood of the burl used for the bowl and the handle's strait grain of the trunk of the tree the burl was harvested from.

Readers from back-in-the-day will remember my love of printed ephemera. The little leaflets helpfully provided to the maker by the local tourist board also deserve a mention:

The rites of baptism release elements and lend depth to the pleasure of drinking: Fill your Kuksa with Rum or Cognac. Allow your thoughts to be transferred to the proximity of the Polar Star sip at the noble liquid and listen to the way Nature speaks through the Kuksa. If you detect a salty taste your ritual has been a complete success. 

More soon
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