Will’s Twitch Live stream

SO, I am on a quest to build castle. And I am figuring out various ways to do it. Mostly it’s about raising the funds. You can join me in the Gothic 3 game on Twitch. There we enjoy the game and talk about the castle quest.

There is a beautiful poetry to it. We really do live in the matrix. We are playing a game in a virtual world where these are castles, knights, and all of that good medieval stuff. And, we are manifesting a real castle, and all that good medieval stuff in this matrix world that we live in.

Here is a link. Every Night at 9PM Eastern Standard Time.

https://twitch.tv/starrynightcastle

The Angel of Death and the Sculptor

The Angel of Death and the Sculptor by Daniel Chester French

This is a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city.

I think we should all take the time to consider what the sculptor is trying to say to us. Especially considering that his hand, as a sculptor, was stopped by the Angel of Death almost 100 years ago.

Anyway, this is part of my series of pictures, articles, and videos, of my adventure around the beautiful country of America. The journey took me six months and I visited all 48 states.

Want to read more of my thoughts about the Angel of Death and the Sculptor? I have an article here. http://www.stormthecastle.com/medieval-america/the-angel-of-death-and-the-sculptor.htm

The Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters

The Cloisters Museum in New York is my favorite museum in all of America. It is the only one devoted solely to the medieval period. It has a lot of wonderful and amazing art. And one of the most famous things it holds is a collection of Unicorn Tapestries dating, of course, to the medieval period. If you love museums and are in New York I highly recommend you stop in The Cloisters.

One of the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters Museum in New York

To see more of these tapestries visit my webpage at: The Unicorn Tapestries

Do you have 3.5 Million I could borrow?

On my trek around America I visited a whole lot of castles. I remember this particular castle very well for two reasons. First off it is privately owned so I could not get close to it. I did get pictures from afar though.

And secondly, rumor has it that this castle was the inspiration for the castle of the Wicked Witch of the west in the movie The Wizard of Oz. It certainly has that look.

Castle Rock in New York, from afar.

Anyway, I do like this castle a lot. It has a great feel. And come to find out it is now for sale for 3.5 million US. It’s a hundred years old and I have no idea what kind of upkeep has been going on with it. It could be in pretty bad disrepair. Dunno. But, in my mind, owning a castle that sits overlooking the Hudson river is worth 3.5.

Working on a knifemaking book

The whole book writing process is arduous yet enjoyable. There is a whole spectrum of things when it comes to writing a book, particularly a how-to book. Nowadays you have to wear a lot of hats. And I love that. With a how to book you have to be a writer, of course. And you have to be a photographer so you can clearly express the process. And you have to be a crafter with the skill required to write that book. This book is a knife making book so I got everything covered and am loving it.

I am at the point here where I lay most of the book out on a wall so I can get a good feel for the visual images and what needs work/replacing. It’s an efficient and creative way to see the book as a whole.

Anyway, I have made a whole bunch of knives and now I am putting it all together into a book. It is a book for beginners which I love to do. It feels like I am introducing a person to something totally new and different. Which I guess I am.

And of course, I needed more pictures so I am right in the middle of a new knife which is fun.

The knife has been shaped. Now it’s create the handle then heat treat it.

A big focus for me with this book is simplicity. Often times knife making books assume you have all kinds of tools, a forge, an anvil, a variety of power tools and a well stocked workshop. This book is all about keeping it simple and using just some basic hand tools to make some reallly excellent knives.

I will keep you posted on the progress of the book. I already have a publisher interested so keep our fingers crossed that they pick it up. Meanwhile I will continue to develop it as the best book I can write!

The adventure around America

I didn’t really start from home in Massachusetts. I felt impelled to drive up the Atlantic coast to Maine and I ended up in Portland. That put me on the east coast just about as far east as you can get. Then I could start my journey across and around the country.

I don’t really like to say across the country because that infers a linear trip from coast to coast. I zig zagged my way through the country being sure to get every state. Which I did.
I will be posting pictures of the journey for you But here is a map of the trip.

Planning was very important for this trip. I always had moderate weather no matter where in the country I was. I will blog more about that in future posts.

The driving course I took around America.

It was the trip of a lifetime. It took me six months and I drove 20,474 miles.

The Little Things about Museums

It’s a subtle thing that we usually don’t notice

When we visit a museum or even when we think about a musuem it’s much like this. There are art works on display. This is expected.

St. Louis Art Museum

And you probably noticed that museums are very aware of spaces, walkways, doorways and the overall areas within the building. A good example of this awareness is how works of art are carefully placed across rooms. Like this. And it is quite wonderful. It allows you to experience the works in an almost tactile way.

But there is another, subtler, thing about museums that I love. It is the secret little things they place in an inconspicuous way. These are things you wouldn’t notice unless you really were taking your time and looking intently at everything.

A good example is this marble screen in the Detroit Institute of Art. It is subtly placed there after a doorway. So, you instinctively just put your hand on it as you are walking through. Not realizing it dates back to around 700 to 800.

Isn’t it beautiful?

And here is another sublime example. This Painting is in the Detroit Institute of Art and it is on the ceiling. I would imagine that it is missed by a lot of people. Just because there is so much amazing stuff to see at eye level. (The Painting is: The Dreams of Men)

The Dreams of Men by Tintoretto

And to cap this whole article off I have to talk about the Museum that is in itself a museum! The whole thing is an actual museum. It is the Cloisters in New York City. It’s a subsidiary of The MET. And the buildings themselves are made up of Medieval buildings like Cloisters and Monasteries that were purchased in Europe, disassembled, shipped over to New York and built into an actual musuem.

The Cloisters itself is a museum.
The cloister in The Cloisters.

I have thrown a lot at you. It actually can be difficult to spot these things when walking through a museum. Every museum has so much to offer. The priceless art is literally hanging on all the walls. But, I think that the next time you visit a museum try to be aware that there is actually a lot more going on than is immediately obvious. So, take your time and look at as much as you can but also be aware of the wonderful surprises that are also there.

The Medieval Box and William of Gellone

I absolutely love this little wooden box.

I have visited museums all over America. They are fantastic. And of all them I have a favorite. It is “The Cloisters” in New York city. It is a subsidiary of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET). And it is the only museum devoted solely to the medieval period of time.

It is so devoted to it that the building itself is from the medieval period. Monasteries, Cloisters and portions of other buildings were purchased in Europe, dismantled and shipped here to be built into a museum. Kind of cool.

The Cloisters Museum in New York City

Well, inside this museum is my favorite piece. It is a simple walnut box called a coffret. And the images painted all over the box tell a story of William of Gellone. How he wanted to re-capture the city of Orange. He dressed as a spy and attempted to deliver a false message. But, fell in love with a muslim princess and was discovered and thrown in jail. There is more.. I have written more about William here

The coffret

Well, the point of my blogpost here is to tell you about my tutorial to make this box out of black foam board. It was on my list for a long time and it came out really good! If you want to make this box the tutorial is right here: Make a Medieval Box (coffret) I use mine to hold office supplies; pencils and stuff like that. Here is a picture of the one I made. And you can make too.

The Medieval root of Pothole

You know what a pothole is. But did you know where the term actually originated from? It’s an interesting little thing.

The term “pothole” comes out of the middle ages. and it really is related to pots.

a medieval pipkin

Cooking pots in the middle ages were made out of clay. Well, they still are being made that way. The drawing I have here shows a pretty standard type of cooking pot called a pipkin. It had a round bottom so heat would be distributed evenly. And it had three legs so you could stand it up right in a fire.

Clay is heavy and a potter wanted to spend his or her time making pots not lugging clay long distances. So….

So if a potter found a rich vein of clay in the road or on the side of the road he would dig it right up! And leave a hole behind, right in the road or along the side of the road.

That clay would be turned into a pot.

And hence the term “pothole”.

It’s a hole in the road that a potter dug up so he could make a pot.

I love this kind of thing!

Now I have a question for you. Do you know where the term “undermine” originated from? Or how about “The Daily Grind”?

Stay tuned to my blog and I will fill you in on these.