As we said a little about materials in our ethos section I thought I would write a little more about them here, especially...

Bog Oak:

 

Bog Oak, sometimes known as morta, is wood from trees that have been buried in peat bogs for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. It is preserved from decompostition by the anaerobic (absence of oxygen) and acidic conditions found in the murky waters of the peat bogs. 

Bog Oak

 

Bog Oak gets its rich distinctive colour from the tannins found in the water in peat bogs, colours range from browns to darkest black, I usually choose to use the blackest examples of the wood for my craft work.

 

Bog Oak represents the early stages in the fossilisation of the wood, on close inspection tiny crystals of silica can be seen within the wood. Eventually lignite (also known as Jet, a semiprecisous gemstone prized for its deep black colour and the ease with which freshwater forms are cut and polished) and coal are formed over a period of millions of years.

 

The Bog Oak I use may come from any of the tree species naturally growing near or in bogs but mostly it is of the genus Quercus - oak, of which the two most well known species are the Sessile and the Penduncuate oaks. The peat moors around Glastonbury have been the home to many people over the years, evidence of which has been found preserved in the peat bogs, ancient track ways ( for example the Sweet Track - the oldest prehistoric trackway found in Britain, made by farmers 6000 years ago from materials including oak, ash, lime, hazel and alder) and the man made islands representing the hearth mounds that pop up in amongst the marshes and lakes of the Somerset levels.

 

Although frequently seen as a nuisance in modern times, particularly by peoples wishing to cut peat for fires and horticultural uses, bog oak has a long history as a valuable resource. Particularly in Ireland people would go out to search the bogs for bog oak to use for all manner of domestic purposes; bog oak has been used to make churns and milk pails and butter boards, ropes and thatching, candles, torches and tapers, and of course as firewood when standing wood was scarce. Bog oak has also been used to make harps, jewelery and religious artifacts. 

 

To this day bog oak is valued as an excellent material for making pipes. 

 

Bog Oak and other bog woods can remain undecayed for thousands, or perhaps even millions of years. Wooden artifacts lost, thrown or buried in bogs can become preserved as bog-wood, proving important for archeology.

 

 I love working with wood that may have grown as much as 4500 years ago, I have yet to date the material I use but will do so as soon as is possible.

 

 

Other materials I use are:

 

Crystals hand gathered from the Welsh hills and Scottish glens.

 

Wood from special places and locations like Historic sites and Mystical places.

 

Stones from heaths, moors and hidden coves and caves.

 

 

 

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