Hard work at harvest time
We always try and stick to tradition here at Orkney Hand Crafted Furniture. Be it searching the shore for driftwood or building the bulk of our furniture by hand, we’re always influenced by how things were done in the past.
But we have to admit, our recent harvest season possibly took our commitment to the craft just a little too far!
Our field of straw in Orkney’s east mainland suffered some weather-related issues during October. By that we mean the wind blew it one way, then back the other, which meant it was impossible for us to get the binder in to cut.
So, there was only thing we could do.
We gathered together a small army of friends and volunteers and set about the harvest with good, old-fashioned scythes and sickles. Back and forth, up and down the field we went for seven days solid, hand-cutting and stooking the straw.
No-one escaped – we even enlisted the help of our youngest team members, Ryan and Liam, who cut 50 sheafs themselves with scissors. In total we harvested 1000, with each sheaf hand-tied, put into stooks and then stacks to dry and ripen.
The bulk of the straw is now in a Dutch barn to finish drying out in the Orkney winter wind, but we’ve already been using some of it in our most recent pieces.
We can look back on the experience now and laugh, but at the time it was back-breaking work. It really made us think about the generations that came before us who didn’t have a binder as an option – in those days it was simply scythe and sickle or no straw. It’s the first time in our 15 years in business that this has happened, so we’ll watch the weather that little bit more carefully come harvest time in 2020.
We’re proud of the family effort and our little team though, and now you’ll know that each and every part of your Orkney chair, table or stool has been hand-cut, and hand-crafted!