08 October 2008

Woollie - Builds a Yurt!!

Travelling over for the time being, I had to find something else to add a touch of excitement to my life! So I took a course on Sunday at West Moss-side Farm near Stirling, a yurt building course....

Just in case you were wondering what I was up to in the new header....

I have been interested in yurts (gers in Mongolian) since I started learning about felt, these beautifully constructed family homes, entirely handmade and covered in felt....keeping out the cold winds of winter, seem so exotic to me. I was glad to see yurts atop Rocher de Naye in Switzerland because it reminded me that I had booked this course! 

Paul Millard of Red Kite Yurts was running the course, there were 8 of us altogether, some had travelled from the Lake District and London to take part.

We started putting up a yurt, it starts with the door and the hearth, is followed by the expandable walls, the tension band is then wrapped around the walls to hold them into place, then 4 roof poles raise the crown into place, and the remaining roof poles are tied into place. The canvas (it's too wet in the UK to use felt) is then unfolded over the roof and drops into place, the wall canvases are then hung to enclose the space......



After we had erected a yurt, it was time to start learning the techniques required to make the frame - steam bending wood to make wall struts, roof poles and the circular crown. The wood had been soaking for 3 days and as we chopped wood to keep the fire going, Paul explained how his home made steam box worked. We placed the wood into 3 oil drums that had been welded together, where they remained for an hour, soaking in steam....after an hour we removed them and quickly we had to gently bend them around pre-laid wood stakes where they will remain for a week whilst they dry and hold their shape. Creating the crowns was the most interesting part - how to make 2 straight planks into a circular crown. Bending the wood round an old wheel frame, clamping it into place....



We then learned how to burn the holes in the crown which the roof poles would slot into - the holes are drilled by hand to begin with and then a poker is used to burn square slanted holes in the crown. 

West Moss-side Farm is a great place to learn a whole host of new crafts - making love spoons (the one above is part of a wedding invitation - I think the groom was glad it was a small wedding as he made one for each wedding invitation) birch craft decorations, basket making and cane seat weaving. Organic food and home made cakes also help in the enjoyment!! I will sign up for more classes in the future I am sure!


8 comments:

Louise said...

Looks like fantastic fun, I'm coming too next time! I love the twiggy decoration too.

Bethany Hissong said...

I didn't know that yurts were usually made with felt! Now I am really interested in them! I have always loved alternative ways of house construction. I think Craig was scared that I'd make him build a straw bale house a few years ago! I was thinking as I was reading your description, that it is a lot like basket-making on a large scale! That "love spoon" is also really cool! I love the little natural ornaments too. I wish I could sign up for a course there with you!!!

amy said...

honestly? you're amazing! i would have never thought of doing anything like that! so cool!

Kate said...

How interesting! What a great thing to try. I love that love spoon!

Eva said...

looks like great fun :-) and glad to see the turtle is finished. cu soon!!

shisomama said...

i can't believe what a full and interesting life you lead! i'll have to tell my friend about this - she spends a lot of her summers on the family farm, often in a teepee. maybe they need to add a yurt to the farm too!

amisha said...

i was wondering about your new header :) yurt making sounds amazing! what a fascinating skill.

kirsten said...

wow, that is so interesting!

*and your travel pix are GORGEOUS - lucky you!*