Traditional Crafts: Alexander Langlands

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Cobbled Path | A cobbled pavement in as good a condition today as it was the day it was laid over a hundred years ago. By hand, and built to last out of local materials, it puts the blistered and fractured tarmac pavement of our more technologically advanced age to shame.

Cobbled Path | A cobbled pavement in as good a condition today as it was the day it was laid over a hundred years ago. By hand, and built to last out of local materials, it puts the blistered and fractured tarmac pavement of our more technologically advanced age to shame.

Gate latch | The pride taken by the blacksmith in his craftsmanship is evident in the scrolled end forged onto this humble gate catch. But it is not decoration for decoration’s sake. This extra arm helps to brace the catch against the force of the shutting gate and latch.

Gate latch | The pride taken by the blacksmith in his craftsmanship is evident in the scrolled end forged onto this humble gate catch. But it is not decoration for decoration’s sake. This extra arm helps to brace the catch against the force of the shutting gate and latch.

Stick collection | Some examples from my own stick collection.

Stick collection | Some examples from my own stick collection.

Icelandic medieval kitchen

Icelandic medieval kitchen

Wood stack

Wood stack

Thatcher's tools | My own thatching tools: Mallet, comb, spar-hook, ladder and knee-pad.

Thatcher's tools | My own thatching tools: Mallet, comb, spar-hook, ladder and knee-pad.

Roadcraft | ‘Craft’ has become so ubiquitous in the modern world that it is difficult to define it. Although, to my mind, there is nothing remotely crafty in the driving of a motorcar.

Roadcraft | ‘Craft’ has become so ubiquitous in the modern world that it is difficult to define it. Although, to my mind, there is nothing remotely crafty in the driving of a motorcar.

The Plastic Age: Casting, mass-produced and throwaway. Things that were once treasured have now become so overabundant that they have lost their meaning.

The Plastic Age: Casting, mass-produced and throwaway. Things that were once treasured have now become so overabundant that they have lost their meaning.

Shears | Sprung shears, for topiary or shearing. Known from classical times and still in use to this day, I have seen sheep shearers cut a fleece from a mature ewe in under five minutes using exactly these tools.

Shears | Sprung shears, for topiary or shearing. Known from classical times and still in use to this day, I have seen sheep shearers cut a fleece from a mature ewe in under five minutes using exactly these tools.

Icelandic hay bogie | An old Icelandic hay-bogie. There is a saying in Iceland; ‘When there is nothing else to do, make hay’. The message is clear: you can never have enough hay to get you through the winter.

Icelandic hay bogie | An old Icelandic hay-bogie. There is a saying in Iceland; ‘When there is nothing else to do, make hay’. The message is clear: you can never have enough hay to get you through the winter.

Haycock Asturias Spain | Passing through the Costa Verde, Asturias, Spain one wet summer, I spied these wonderful haycocks. Evidence of a cultural practice shared by communities forced to make hay in Atlantic conditions.

Haycock Asturias Spain | Passing through the Costa Verde, Asturias, Spain one wet summer, I spied these wonderful haycocks. Evidence of a cultural practice shared by communities forced to make hay in Atlantic conditions.

Haycock ready for transportation | Freshly raked-up hay ready for immediate transportation before the weather turns. In the distance, conscious of the job that awaits him, Smiler, a Swedish Ardennes heavy horse lumbers over to be ‘tacked up’ ready.

Haycock ready for transportation | Freshly raked-up hay ready for immediate transportation before the weather turns. In the distance, conscious of the job that awaits him, Smiler, a Swedish Ardennes heavy horse lumbers over to be ‘tacked up’ ready.

Loaded hay bogie | This Shropshire hay-bogie is a northern type of hay transporter that shares a common ancestry with the Icelandic variety. Smiler stands ready between the shafts with Mr Thomas Stackhouse-Acton esquire at his head.

Loaded hay bogie | This Shropshire hay-bogie is a northern type of hay transporter that shares a common ancestry with the Icelandic variety. Smiler stands ready between the shafts with Mr Thomas Stackhouse-Acton esquire at his head.

Grandad Langlands | My grandfather in his later years still plied his trade as a golf-club maker but only for recreational toys for my father and auntie.

Grandad Langlands | My grandfather in his later years still plied his trade as a golf-club maker but only for recreational toys for my father and auntie.

Clovis Spear | A worked flint blade hafted to a shaft, a technology that dates back at least 300,000 years. This is a replica of a stone spearhead that is over 13,000 years old and found in Arizona. © Tim Rast

Point and Foreshaft This is the finished Clovis complex spear reproduction made from the white novaculite fluted point that I talked abou.

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