I have never thought of myself as an artist. I was one of the kids in school with straight A's and a D in art (which I think I received only because an F would probably have made the teacher look questionable). But outside of school I enjoyed calligraphy. I liked the order to it, that there was a system to it, and that it looked beautiful. And throughout the years I have doodled with Celtic knot work as well (for the same reasons of order & beauty).
About 4 years ago Jamie was teaching a workshop in Vancouver and I was there (helping a little, but mostly keeping our then almost 1 year old out from under hatchets). Near the end of the workshop one of the participants pulled out a wood burning kit and burned some knot work onto the back of his bow. Jamie had some concerns about violating the back of the bow (where there is tension placed), but I was thinking how cool it looked, and that maybe I could do something like it.
So I went ahead and purchased a pyrography set (wood burner and pen with interchangeable tips). And started playing around with the burning. I took a basic knot design and customized the ends, with one looking a little like an arrow tip.
On my first trip to the UK (October 2015) I was fortunate enough to visit the Leeds Armoury in Leeds, UK. I had a few days off between bow making workshops and I decided to take a day trip north to visit one of England's three royal armouries.
The trip started out a bit hectic, despite my best efforts to figure out the train times online to make the journey as smooth as possible. My first train from Birkenhead to Liverpool was stopped mid journey for mechanical issues. After a twenty minute wait we boarded a different train to complete the Journey into Liverpool. After running down the tunnels and up the escalator I arrived just in time to watch my train pull away from the platform. After an hour wait and a cup of coffee I was on the next express train heading north to Leeds. The train seemed to travel really fast so I asked the conductor just how fast we were going and I was suprised to hear that we were clipping along at 90 mph.
Ravenbeak Laminate Bamboo Backed Yew English Longbow by Jamie MacDonald
Tradition has always been interesting to me, often we look around the world and see things that we consider have been around for time immemorial, however that often isn't the case. Food is a big one, many of the staples we see in diets across the globe were completely unheard of only a few hundred years ago, go back a little further and tomatoes and potatoes simply didn't exist in Europe before the discovery of the Americas.
This question has come up a lot and I thought this might be a good opportunity to write it down so others can read it.
Archery has always been a part of my life. As a small boy I can clearly remember watching my father shoot the very first arrow from his 55lb recurve. I had been playing with his bow for some time and was trying hopelessly to pull the thing, in fact I thought it was impossible. One day we hopped in the truck and drove out to a farm to pick up a few straw bales, once home he set them up in the yard and told me to stand back. As the first arrow hissed across the yard I was mesmerized by the speed and that image has been forever burned into my mind.
There is an old saying that "all that glitters is not gold" it must also be remembered that just sometimes that glittering is in fact Gold and at $650 I just struck the mother load.
Two beautiful bows are the result of the collaboration between Jamie MacDonald (Ravenbeak Natureworks) and Jeremy Humpherville (Coastal Carvings).
Yew wood West Coast paddle bows, painted with West Coast art. The bows have the traditional ridge running along the belly. Both bows have short, sharp recurves - which was commonly found on traditional bows. One has diamond shaped tips, the other funnel (upside down triangle) shaped tips. Both handles are wrapped with brain tanned buckskin (yes, we did the brain tanning too!)
If you'd like to own of these stunning pieces, please contact us to see if they are still available. Bows are $1500 each.
Three short videos on some kids bows made from Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor, also known as creambush or ironwood). Made right from green wood, so they ended up taking quite a bit of set - but this is actually good for the young folks. It makes stringing the bow easy and also if they accidentally dry fire - which is bound to happen - it won't effect the bow as much.
I have a couple days in the shop to build myself a new bow. Crotalus sold a week ago to a nice man from Finland and I have been left without a bow.
This was my chance to build something that I really wanted. To incorporate what I have learned to re create my old bow, but with some touches I had been thinking about.
It is nearly finished, just cycling through coats of oil right now. She is a beauty.
Like Crotalus, it is heavily recurved and dyed british tan. The tip overlays are buffalo horn and the arrow rest is the antler base of a small spike buck I shot with a bow.
Tillered out to 45 lbs at 28 inches and backed with silk and diamond back rattler skins. I am proud to say this is my new bow.
It will be one of my entries into the Sidney fine art show in sept.