Jumping Knot Broom

Black Cherry, broomcorn

Rae completed this broom in time for a show in Appleton titled Exploring Domestic Myths in 2000.  The show stands out in my memory mostly for the trip up to pick up her pieces, because we were hauling a rented trailer, hit a patch of ice, and though I was able to keep the truck on the road, the trailer tipped over and was wrecked.  Very glad we did not have it full of her art!

At that show, the title was Age of Union: Passion Play; Sweeping Romance/Commitment.  But ever since, she called it the Jumping Knot Broom, (or rarely the Celtic Knot broom).

Rae loved to shop for her raw materials, especially since scouring the woods was out of the question with her arthritis worsening.  She found the cherry at BVC Hardwoods, and knew immediately what she wanted to do with it.  Rae had found a book she gave me on carving wooden spoons, and the history and traditions surrounding that.  Turns out Welsh “Love Spoons”  had quite a history, and inspired her to do a carved broom.

One time-honored wedding traditions, which Rae and I had participated in, is “Jumping the Broom” as art of a marriage ceremony.  Usually just a simple broom, often a hand-made one for Pagan handfastings, and occasionally very fancy, she designed one that combined the love spoon with the broom (though I would challenge anyone to hold this one horizontally for the jump).

The repeating part of the design was transferred onto a sheet of paper, then using carbon paper put on one side of the cherry “beam”  (2.25″ X 6″ , 6′ long)  The finial design at the top and bottom detail were hand drawn, holes drilled through, and the spiral drawn on the narrow sides, then it was a matter of removing all the excess wood.  Rasps, drawknives, spokeshaves, small saws, Foredem flexible shaft, then sandpaper.

The base was made by gluing and cutting more pieces, leaving a bell-like hollow underneath, and rounding with spokeshaves and sanding.  The top fits in with a tapered mortise/tenon joint, and the broomcorn attached to two dowels, making a pair of besom-like brooms for the skirt.

The natural cherry color will get darker red with age.  I personally think this would make a nice altar piece someday.

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