Sunday, 1 March 2015

The beauty of Estonian craft

Tartu,  Estonia

Gunnar Karro works wonders in wood.  He designs and carves the most lovely weaving implements. Friends of mine had bought some of his work and whilst I was in Estonia last summer, I arranged to meet him.

He sells his work on Etsy

We met Gunnar and his wife in Tartu, Estonia.   He showed me the range of items that he makes.

Lucet and curved shuttle

The temptation was too great and I came away with a lovely curved shuttle and a lucet.  I use a lucet frequently as I can make coloured narrow cords out of fine thread. It fits in the hand so well and is so smooth to the touch.

I know that some of his customers have asked for specific designs, so I commissioned him to make a heddle and shuttle with a delicate carved horse.

I gave him a picture of the Uffington White Horse and he translated this ancient design into a motif for my heddle and shuttle.
'Not what a horse looks like, but what a horse be'  

Heddle by Gunnar Karro

The horse motif on the band shuttle, beautifully carved by Gunnar Karro.

The two colours of the wood of the shuttle makes the horse look as though it is running along a hill top.

Gunnar also made a handy stand for the heddle and shuttle.  This makes them items for display as well as use.

I have posted a page about threading a standard heddle on my blog which shows me using the stand to thread the heddle.  It is easier to thread the heddle if it is upright and the stand works perfectly.

If you want to know more about the Uffington White Horse, see more information about the horse at this link.

Uffington White Horse

This is the Uffington White Horse.  Recent archaeological evidence dates suggests that it is at least 2,500 years old and was initially constructed in the early Iron Age or perhaps even the late Bronze Age. The position and its distinctive shape has been maintained more or less intact since that time.[i]

The White Horse is easily visible form the valley and on a clear day can be seen from 15 - 20 miles away.  It is enormous.  The horse is 110 m (about 361 feet) long.

Terry Pratchet's book A Hat Full of Sky describes a carved chalk horse - 'Not what a horse looks like, but what a horse be ...It had been carved in the turf before history began, by people who had manged to convey in a few flowing lines everything a horse was: strength, grace, beauty and speed, straining to break free of the hill.' (page 78)

I have started weaving with the heddle.  It is a joy to use and will always remind me of meeting Gunnar and his wife in Tartu.  I am touched by the beauty of the carving and the wood.  Wood has such a warm smooth feel. One friend described his work as feeling like silk and I now know what she means.

Susan J Foulkes March 2015

[i] Miles, D., Palmer, S., Loc, G., Gosden, S & Cromarty, A., (2003) Uffinton White Horse and its Landscape: investigations at White Horse Hill Uffington, 1989-95 and Tower Hill Ashbury 1993-4, Oxford Archaeology Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 18, pages 77 - 78


  1. Hello, my name is Magda. I would like to buy one of your books about band wewving, but in "blurb" store they are only supported by the iBooks app, which is designed for the iPhone and iPad. Is it posible to buy it directly from you for PC with Windows or on traditional form - paper?
    I'm sorry for my English :).
    Best regards

  2. Hello Magda. All my books are available as print versions on paper from Blurb. Look at the list of my published books on this blog. Click on - see my published books - and the link takes you to my books on weaving. Click on any of the books to find the price for the paper version.
    There is no version for PC with Windows at the moment
    Are you a band weaver? It is always good to hear from someone who weaves or who wants to try weaving.
    Your English is good.
    best wishes
    Susan J Foulkes

    1. Hello. Thank you for answer. I have just founded paper version.
      I weave on the loom and I weave tablet bands, sometimes I weave on heddle (in Polish it call "bardko"). On heddle I can weave simple patterns - strips. I would like to learn how to weave sami bands. They are so beautyful.
      My blog adress, if you want to see.:

      Best wishes
      Magda Nawrot


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