Saturday, 10 December 2011

BTWC- 17th meeting at the CRYPT

The 17th meeting of BTWC was kindly hosted by The Crypt, a mysterious bar drowned in purple neon-light located in some basement in Frankfurt am Main. Among amethyst stones that protect you from alcohol-poisoning and the smell of lavender, our friend Tim mixed some drinks and offered woody whiskey to all the visitors that dared to put a blade to the test. For those of you who live on the continent and long for a club that can offer you wood and knives to whittle with into the dark hours of the this space... a German Chapter of BTWC is soon coming to a small town near you...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


1st December, from 5PM, at:

Architecture building
Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste - Städelschule
Dürerstraße 10, 60596 Frankfurt am Main

Bleeding Thumb Whittling Club, from London, meets roughly once a month to provide tools, wood, and guidance to those interested in whittling and carving wood. Each meeting has a theme for inspiration, should it be desired.

For our visit to Frankfurt, from one global financial capital to another, the theme is Money. Whittling has always been the choice art of austerity-afflicted populations, but can go badly wrong as carvers turn to making lifeless objects to sell to tourists.

Will whittling survive it's Faustian brush with capitalism? Those tempted, will be given gold-leaf to turn their wooden scrap into gold.

Wood and knives are provided FREE.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Ex Libris

I whittled this Ex Libris yesterday so that I can put a big fat stamp in all the books that belong to ME (or that i consider to be mine). I guess it could be printed on bits of paper and then glued into the book in traditional fashion as well. The Ex Libris depicts a praying mantis standing on the base-unit of a graphite crystal, and above, my initials in cyrillic.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Sound of BTWC

Two mixes produced by the club and Urban Legend/Shrieking Abscess with Brian Moran. One contains sounds plundered from the astounding website, and one features sonic material produced by members (credits in jpeg below). Below is annotation to the tracks on the folkstream bootleg CD, some jpeg facsimiles of the material associated with the discs (click for bigger versions) and links to the sound files.

Link to download Weaponised Psychedelics Mix Tape

ULSA presents the sound of Folk Streams, listening notes:
  1. Alex Stewart, a cooper, explains what kind of wood is required to make an effective water containing vessel (it must be 1st class).
  2. Explosions and machinery noise in mechanised railway construction are heard, to be contrasted with 10.
  3. Don Stover plays an untitled bluegrass.
  4. Black schoolgirls demonstrate their chants in an LA playground. During this song, the girls form two lines facing each other while individuals take turns dancing down the middle, a prefiguration of the hit TV show "Soul Train".
  5. Work songs of Black Prisoners, sung while axe-felling trees under the gaze of Texas prison guards.
  6. Rare footage and sound from a Southern Baptist sermon. Spontaneous gospel singing and a woman screaming, possessed, can be heard.
  7. A member of an East Tennessee evangelical church talks about taking up serpents, being bitten, and faith.
  8. A contemporary college fraternity activity, "Stepping", is described and recorded.
  9. Runaway teenagers in San Fransisco rap about the day-to-day; a young skinhead exposits his ideological development.
  10. Railway workers (gandy dancers) relate the songs sung to keep time when hammering railway spikes and levering tracks in to true. Several songs are heard, along with the highly rhythmical hammering technique employed.
  11. Fife and drum player Orthar Turner plays a self made flute and talks about this obscure Mississippi-based party music. The relations of polyrhythms in certain African forms, contemporary techno, and this here music are notable.
Link to download Folk Streams bootleg

Friday, 16 September 2011


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

We are back!

Been a long time since last meeting. We have been busy with the side project Facts & Systems and also spent some time traveling in Ukraine, picking up some mean knives. We are going to try these out on a meeting very soon...
You are welcome to join us....

Friday, 3 June 2011


I wrote this a while back for one of the zines that we produced. Now web-ulized for distant readers:

Three recent forest foragings:

1) End of August: Trent Park, London, UK
Smallest fruit body of a fungus found: 5mm
Largest fruit body: 300mm
In other words, a factor of 60 in linear dimensions. Just one reason to be thrilled by mushrooms. Run, don't walk to your nearest birch forest, where you are liable to find mushrooms and trees engaged in a symbiotic relationship - the tree providing sugar from photosynthesis, the mushroom nutrients leached from microscopic pores in the earth via its mycorrhiza ("mushroom root") - just like little communists, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. The mushrooms also absorb and therefore filter out heavy metals and toxins that could harm the tree; this is why you should not eat too many mushrooms from the Chernobyl region of Ukraine, even today.
Colours of mushroom found:
purple, brown, orange, white, yellow (luminescent)

2) Late September: Trukhaniv Island, Kiev, Ukraine
This island sits in the broad low Dnieper River and is accessed by a slightly shabby concrete footbridge. Penetrating beyond the ice-cream huts, winding down as the summer ends, there is an old pleasure bar, unused, now a jolly and grotty pavilion for teenagers and stray dogs to explore. We were told of - but did not see - packs of stray dogs that roam the island, numbering in the low hundreds.

Going further, further past a stagnant inlet where a strange figure loomed in the stinky marsh, there were signs warning against the bite of the tick, which did nothing to slow us.

After half and hour of increasingly grinding walking or shuffling (the sun was out), we realised that walking slowly is more tiring so we puffed out our chests and swung our arms like hikers. The road stretches long before you, each corner reveals a new distant horizon. By the side of the road in young forest are a few dozen fly agaric toadstools. Some are quite fresh, their caps still perfect little spheres, like little red purulent planets. Seeing these, we decided to turn back.

3) Last day of September: Grunewald Forest, Berlin, Germany
We arrived in the forest at about seven AM. After the Second World War, the allies built a hill here using rubble from bombings; it's called Teufelsberg - Devil's Mountain. At the peak they grew a cluster of enormous puffball funghi, a spying station of white-canvased geodesic domes.

Walking through the forest before anyone else, we found mushrooms at every step, starting with a foot high white specimen. Some species huddle together like herd animals, some are interspersed more sparsely, some go it alone. There were shrooms which glowed slightly with bioluminescence or just the morning light, or at least they tricked my eyes, and there were many edible boletes with their characteristic spongy caps.

Past a square of tightly packed allotment-summer house arrangements, up the hill, gaining and losing sight of the geodesics. We exceeded the fence of the Cold War compound and tramped through the dank and up. The view from the tallest radio tower: the sun was low and shining straight at us. A 360-degree view of any city makes it look like lego - here is the airport at Tegel, here is the sports stadium from Albert Speer, several tall masts, one of which must be Alexanderplatz. Berlin seemed to be rather surrounded by forests, unlike London, which is surrounded by more London.

Since it was stripped out when the Americans left, you can only wonder what the radio interception antennae looked like. They must not have been very aerodynamic since they were protected from the wind by these domes. The one at the peak is just more than a hemisphere of fullerene, say 8m radius. Clap your hands and the distinct echos continue for ten seconds, the diffuse reverb for twenty.

By the time we came down from the towers and the mountain, school kids and Russians were digging around for mycology. The mushrooms that were so dewy and vibrating when we arrived were drier and a bit more withdrawn.

Folk Names of Mushrooms
The Sickener
The Blusher
Slimy Milk Cap
Destroying Angel
The Deceiver
Velvet Shank
Bleeding Bonnet
Cramp Balls

Concerning the Film "Shrooms"
The horror movie "Shrooms" (tag-line: Blair Witch on acid) is about a Very Upsetting Camping Trip in which annoying American kids go to Ireland to take magic mushrooms, but they take the wrong magic mushrooms, and they all die. It portrays Irish people as shiftless and inbred. “Shrooms” was funded by the Irish Film Board. If you wish to see this film, please contact us and we will lend it to you. Please do not buy this film.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

15th meeting - Come modify some wood

The form of wood, for instance, is altered if a table is made out of it. Nevertheless the table continues to be wood, an ordinary sensible thing. But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing that transcends sensuousness. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than if it were dancing of its own free will.

- Karl Marx,

from 'the Fetish Character of the Commodity and its Secret' , Capital, 1873

Marx is known to have relaxed from his activities in economics and philosophy by solving problems from differential calculus. At BTWC 15, we suggest relaxation not with the swooping and turning infinitesimals of calculus, but the flowing and streamlined wood grain.

Fish by Nick.

Pip´s stuff

Little Jack made a lady hugging a horse.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Cut of the Week

On our last meeting Ben B cut him self really bad. I mean REALLY bad! You can not tell from the fuzzy picture above which is good, because although it did not bleed much and the blade missed important ligaments, this one was so graphic even thinking about it makes me sick. Apparently he was having some heated conversation at the time of the accident. I later examined his piece of whittling and there was a definite dangerous path for the knife in it.

6 hours at the A&E next to drunk city-boys. 3 stitches.

be ware
take care


This is some pieces I whittled a couple months ago for Lou Dalton's AW2011 menswear show. I used reddish pear-wood for a change from the bland lime-wood and it was surprisingly pleasant to work with. Pear is harder and more dense then lime so the detail comes out really nice and there is hardly any burr in tight spots. It is of course also harder to work, thus more blisters.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


Hugo is a very skilled weaver that usually makes scarves and other things. He carved this pattern in a block of wood when he was visiting some time ago. I used it to print on some paper, but I guess it could be used on textiles too. If we ever create a new Bauhaus, Hugo will be in charge of the textiles workshop.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

14th Meeting - Hotel Garderobe

For the past few days the sun has bombarded us with streams of photons, so we hid away in a dark hole in a half-abandoned building to conduct experiments. This time around the whittling-club was hosted by "Hotel Garderobe" - a secret cinema run by whittling-club member Adam in a hole through his wardrobe.

Specially made poster for 14th meeting

Photocopy hand-out and whittling by Jack.

Tooth by Jamie J J

Flower by Lawrence