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Cammin & Bamberg Casket

Posted by Bev Halstead on June 4, 2017 at 3:45 AM

A few more pieces based on panels from the Cammin and Bamberg Caskets.

A pyrographed cherry wood lamp base,


and an Ash plaque, decorated in a mix of pyrography and painting.


Cammin Casket

Posted by Bev Halstead on May 28, 2016 at 3:30 PM

The Cammin Casket was made around the year 1000 in Scandinavia and is decorated in the Mammen style. It is a wooden box overlaid with 22 carved panels (possibly of Elk horn). All the panels are different and include intricate interlaced images, including beasts and snakes. These are held together with engraved bands of gilt bronze.

The original Casket was kept in a German Cathedral until WW2, when it disappeared. It is unknown whether it was looted or destroyed in a fire, but there are several replicas in various European Museums.

This Ash plaque is based on one of the panels

Sanda Stone

Posted by Bev Halstead on May 14, 2016 at 12:25 AM



Based on the Sanda Stone, a 9th Century rune stone found in Gotland Sweden.

This plaque is made of reclaimed oak which has been hand drawn and pyrographed.

The runic inscription is the name of the deceased, in whose honour the stone was erected. It is generally thought that the 3 figures in the top part of the stone are the Norse gods Odin, Thor and Freyr. The bird could be a swan, crane or goose but its significance is unknown.

There are several suggestions regarding the figures at the bottom of the stone. They could again be the 3 Gods. Odin with his spear, Thor with his hammer and Freyr with a scythe, due to his link with farming. Another thought is that they are fallen warriors crossing the bridge to the afterlife.

Reclaimed Oak plaque, approx. 20cms x 15cms (8inchs x 6inchs)

Snake Witch Stone - Lamp base

Posted by Bev Halstead on April 29, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Ash wood lamp base

17cms (approx 7inchs)tall, excluding fitting.


The Snake Witch Picture stone dates from 400-600 AD and was found in Gotland Sweden

This picture stone is known by many names, including Lady of the Beasts and the Smiss stone. Some believe it shows a goddess in the birth position, as the Creator of life. She has a serpent in each hand and above her there are 3 interlacing animal heads.

Weyland the Smith

Posted by Bev Halstead on April 24, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Hand turned Ash Plate 20cms (8inchs)

Runic message "May your cup be filled to overflowing with love, health and happiness

Based on a 10th century bronze mount found in Uppakra in Sweden.

Wayland the Smith was a master blacksmith, who according to some legends was the son of a giant and a mermaid. He was famed for his skill in making magical swords and other artifacts. He was captured and held captive by the Swedish King Nidud and forced to work for him, however he eventually manged to escape by making a set of wings and flying away. Variations of his story are told in both Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon poems including Beowulf.

Goddess Talking Stick

Posted by Bev Halstead on January 22, 2015 at 6:05 AM

The new moon is a perfect time for new beginnings or undertakings. But not only is it new moon but the first of the year, so perfect timing for a totally new project. Something that I have thought about before but never had the confidence to do

I feel very honored to have been asked to make a talking stick for a council of women. After some initial nerves, I must admit I've become quite excited at the prospect, especially as the other than it being in the form of the Goddess, I have been given the freedom to "follow my heart"

So with the sun showing her face for a while, I went off for a wander along the hedgerow and round the field. Other than walking the dogs which tends to be fairly noisy and manic, it's the first time I've been outside for a while. It was wonderful to listen to the birds singing and watching a beautiful red kite circling overhead. Monkey, my little black cat even came to keep me company and followed me all the way round.

We've got quite a lot of different trees including in Hazel which I tend to use a lot for sticks and staff, Sycamore, Ash as well as some different fruits Crab Apples, Sloes etc. The few piece's that did seem promising meant cutting most of the tree just for the small length I wanted, which just didn't feel right so I eventually came to our little patch of willow. I'd coppiced some last year to encourage new growth for making wreaths and decorations so felt far happier using this, I also remembered reading somewhere that Willow represents among things "Wisdom and an Open mind" which seemed fitting for its intended purpose. The Robin that came to keep me company seemed to approve of my choice as well.

I wondered about using green wood as I normally use seasoned wood, but after some checking it seems that Willow can be used green. As it turned out the willow was a pleasure to work with and the Goddess soon started to emerge.

After some photos and chats about ideas, the finished first talking stick.



Tree Plaque

Posted by Bev Halstead on December 24, 2014 at 7:35 AM

I've been working on a made to order plaque over the last few days, in this case one of my mixed media, tree of life plaques. These incorporate my usual pyrography with additional colour tinting and painting.

As most of my wood comes in all shapes and sizes it's not really possible to use templates. Instead I draw up each piece individually using old fashioned set squares and compass. (I love using these as they were among some of the treasured things I inherited a from my Mother-in-law, who was a draughtswomen after the war.)

Oak is one of the most difficult woods to pyrograph (apart from pine). This is due to the coarseness and unevenness of the grain which makes it hard to keep an even burn. As the lettering is one of the most precise bits I usually do this first, then finish the basic outlining.

The tree is the next part I work on and I usually sketch out the basic shape to start with, just to get overall size and proportion. However with the finer details like the smaller branches, I am very much guided by the wood itself. Although the grain of the wood plays a large part, I often feel that the wood has it's own ideas about what the end result will be....

I used to paint a lot before I started doing pyrography, all sorts including ceramics, wall murals and furniture. I've dabbled at combining painting with pyrography a while back, but didn't really start doing it seriously until last year. Now most of my larger pieces involve painting to one degree or another.

I still rely on the pyrography to add shading which I do after the painting is finished.




Yule & Mabon Plaques

Posted by Bev Halstead on August 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM

The Mabon and Yule plaques are both finished and on their way home.

I've really enjoyed making them. It's great to do whatever I like, but working on a commission for someone who's on a similar wavelength can be really enjoyable. They can suggest ideas I wouldn't necessarily have thought of, as with the Mabon plaque. I originally designed it with a Fly Agaric, the fairy mushroom,  forager Lyn requested a Cep, the prize of all fungi collectors and I was happy to oblige.

Moon Gazing Hares

Posted by Bev Halstead on August 23, 2014 at 8:45 AM


A couple of days ago I got a message from one of my Etsy customers who likes Moon Gazing Hares. After a chat about different ideas she has asked me to make 4 plaques depicting Ostara, Litha, Mabon and Yule.


A sketch and photo sent for the OK. Then out-lines burnt in with a small alteration.... Lyn suggested Pine Cones rather than the grass, which is more seasonal and I have to agree does look better. The background's pyrographed and some shading added before painting and finishing touches.

The finished piece, I hope she likes it.