Finishing off the Mortar and Pestle, and Finally Grinding Some Leaves

For the pestle we tramped around the property and salvaged a branch from a dead Arbutus tree, and with a bit of trouble chain-sawed out a check-free section which was at least reasonably straight. This chunk went straight onto the lathe for turning. There’s not a lot to say about the turning process, which went easily enough after the initial out-of-balance vibrations quieted down as various protuberances were taken off:

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Come to think of it, it’s actually rather a fearsome-looking object.

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Settling down a bit…..

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The basic shape is defined….

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and refined…..

….so that after final wetting, drying, sanding and oiling it could be paired with its natural partner:

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We are now ready to pound.

Esme and Svea collected bags of woad leaves which we dumped into the mortar, and rapidly reduced to a green sludge:

Mortar & Pestle #1 - re-sized

This was fun.

Woad balls #1 - resized


Finally, the finished product. (I think that we also added a little charcoal to the mix.):

Woad balls #2 - re-sized

Woad Balls, ready to be dried for future experiments and dyeing.

At some point I’ll catch up on the dyeing aspect of things, and ask Esme how it all worked out. In some mysterious way the green will be become blue…..more later.