As I have mentioned in other posts, my parents were hippies that made hand-sewn leather goods and sheepskin coats for people in the 70's. As a young child to young parents I would play with the scraps while they were working-I have the scars to prove it. I specifically remember gluing together a leather bag with those scraps. My parents were very creative people and set me off on the road towards making stuff.
When I graduated high school I wanted to be an artist and began taking classes at a community college. I started in drawing and painting but soon found myself in sculpture. I started carving wood and researching primitive carvings and carving across cultures. I loved anthropology and incorporated many styles in my work. I have carved totem poles and small work alike.
Then my wife and I decided to move to Mississippi, where she was born. Whenever we visit her parent’s land I head off to the woods. They live in a small rural town that doesn’t even have a police station. I call my jaunts in nature, a bushcraft walk because when I go I always do some bushcrafty activities like, build a shelter, identify wild plants or make cordage from plants. I also gather materials and spot and identify them. It is a like a mini-adventure. When I was a kid I loved those shows about a jungle expedition where someone always got stuck in quicksand. Anyway, this is my little way of having an adventure. I have been doing that for over a decade and haven’t gotten caught in quicksand yet.
After doing some research I purchased VHS tapes from Ron Hood’s Woodmaster series. In them, he demonstrated all kinds of projects to make with wood and other natural and found materials. Watching those videos I realized that I could make that stuff while I was in the woods. What really grabbed my attention was the innovative, out of the box thinking, which I think is the hallmark of bushcrafting Ron displayed. In one, he magnetizes a small thin piece of metal and places it on a leaf in a cup of water to determine north, and in another, he sharpens both ends of two 12” long sticks and interlocks them to make a primitive weapon. There were tons of ideas that you can make from everyday items around you. From that moment on I was hooked and it became a life long hobby. It also paired well with my background in the arts and it made me feel more confident in nature.
To me ABMS is a daily mindset, I am always looking for a resource and seeing what I can make from it. I also try to make something everyday, even if it is a little feather stick and a small fire. Now these things are not pieces to sell at a crafts fair but they keep the juices flowing. The ABMS mindset puts me in creative mode, it builds body heat (during cold days), teaches me about the properties of different materials and finally it keeps my mind occupied. I don’t know if you are like me but my mind is constantly racing around, so this activity keeps me positive and focused.