Two ravens sit warily in the orchard on the lower slopes of the hill, the world is pink as the ravens talk to each other and fly off.
In the shop I am working on a pattern welded viking sword with carvings in the Mammen Style. This is a type of ornamentation from 10th century Denmark which combines gripping beasts with spiral hips and wings which loop and intertwine with decorative dots.
Before constructing the hilt and scabbard I start by drawing a full scale concept design of the sword and work out the details of how it will be suspended from the belt and what design motifs I will explore.
I carve the background out and begin to round the lines of the spirals and cords. slowly the pattern emerges over eight days of carving.
I walk up the old hill behind the farm. The landscape is skewbald with snow, a white and brown patchwork, dusk already in the afternoon. Winters smell hangs on the air, crisp, bittersweet.
Dead branches form mouth-like winter dens in the undergrowth.
Lichen moss and snow are the stones winter clothes.
The beech trees hold their leaves all winter, they rattle in the wind. Yellow grass against the dark forest. The hillside is full of grim beauty. Now it is time to light a fire in the kitchen, cast bronze in the foundry and write winter stories in the dim light.