Shepherd's Crooks & Walking Sticks
Sticks: Once an essential part of a gentleman's outfit, long the most recognized tool of the shepherd, today as much an expression of individuality as anything, often a piece of craftsmanship and art to rival any painting or sculpture. The shepherd's crook is, in many parts of the world, still an essential tool of the livestock farmer and universally recognized as a symbol of religious leaders. No matter the design a good walking stick is as much a companion as a tool, helping maintain your stride and tempo, giving you an extra point of balance and in general making the entire journey more pleasurable.
The process of making a stick, or "stick dressing" as it is often called, is a time consuming but highly rewarding process, perfect for whiling away the winter hours. Each stick is a unique work of art, from the selection of the perfect shank, to the carving of the head, the all important joining of the two pieces and the endless hours of sanding and finishing. It is as much a labor of love as craftsmanship.
I make shepherd's crooks and walking sticks with wood, horn and antler handles. I use traditional hazel shanks as well as hawthorn, maple, holly, various fruit trees and anything else that I find that I think will make a nice stick. Many of the shanks are cut here on our farm and many of the sheep horns I use come from our own flock of sheep. The maple burls and other woods that I use in many of the heads is also locally sourced. My workshop is a converted pump house where my working companions are usually a radio and one of our dogs. Our living room is often also roped into service for gluing, fine sanding and finishing, hopefully in the presence of a nice warm fire. Raven is as good at sculpting as she is at drawing dogs and carves the heads on the more elaborate sticks, so the stick dressing process is something that we can share and enjoy together.
I make crooks on spec and also on commission. How long it takes to make a commissioned stick depends on what I have on order and how busy I am with other things. While it often takes less time, if you want a commissioned stick for a specific date, please give at least two months notice. For more information or to order a stick e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.