by Arnold E. Grummer
I have long been enamored with Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood, and Nottingham of Merry Olde England.
So when my granddaughter wound up with a year at college in Nottingham, I went totally out of my mind. I wanted her to stop studying immediately and go hang out in Sherwood Forest and write to me daily about what was going on: did birds sing, was there a meandering creek, what was it like to stand in Sherwood forest shade, were there any old arrows lying about that might be Robin Hood’s, or bones from deer he and his men had eaten. Maybe she could send me a sapling of one of the famous Sherwood Forest oaks.
Instead, she took a side trip to Sweden and places like that. Well, you just can’t tell about young people these days.
Hand paper casting is manipulation of wet pulp into shapes and/or structures in which the pulp can be kept until it is dry.
Manipulation of pulp into shapes can be done free-hand, or with a pre-made frame or pattern into which pulp can be poured.
So I hand cast my own “Christmas in Sherwood Forest”. I gathered cookie cutter shapes, cut a few tree patterns out of food foam board, poured a few trees free hand. On some of the pine tree castings, I mounted Christmas lights (pulp bits).
I hand shaped Little John, a smaller Robin Hood, made a casting of a sentry to guard the Forest, provided a Christmas Star and two ordinary ones, plus a Christmas Quarter Moon. The celestial bodies floated in the skies above the forest. Naturally there must be deer.
Then I glued a penny to each of the 69 units’ bottoms, and set them up as Sherwood Forest.
Can you hand cast your favorite seasonal or holiday fantasy? Sure! Whip up a batch of liquid pulp (waste paper in a blender), and start shaping free-hand or with a pattern.
If nothing else, try a bucolic scene from my youth in Iowa — two cows being chased toward a distant barn by a dog, followed by a thirteen-year old boy wearing a straw hat. (Actually, that bucolic scene is the beginning of the quart of milk on your table.)