Forging ahead

Forge Creative combine traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design to create beautifully unique items that can be enjoyed for generations

Trees
These handmade wooden tree toys are crafted from a wide variety of wooden off-cuts or reclaimed timber to make use of material that would otherwise be wasted. From £16

Droplet Boards
Beautiful solid wood boards made from a choice of maple, oak or walnut. Great for serving cheese, bread or antipasti, they can also be used in the kitchen as a chopping board. £50


Coffee Tamper
Our tampers are made with a charred oak handle and solid copper base which develops a rich hue over time. The perfect addition to any morning coffee ritual. £48

Corrosion
This handmade jewellery/keepsake box is made from walnut and maple and has carved textures on the outside, made to resemble weathered coastal rocks. £695


Salt and Pepper Mills
Made from walnut and English sycamore, these salt and pepper mills are crafted on a lathe before being finished with a tactile hand carved ripple texture. £160

The Grid
This coffee table gets its name from its geometric metal frame. The crisp black lines make it look as though it has jumped off the pages of an isometric sketch pad. From £295

Newspapers from the edge of the world

Born out of trouble and strife in the world’s most inhospitable places, creating newspapers was essential for passing the time and boosting morale and comradeship in the bleakest of circumstances

The_Wipers_Times,_issue_cover_March_1916_Wellcome_L0031562_cleaned.jpg

The Wipers Times (1916)

Beneath the bludgeoned Belgian city of Ypres, accompanied by nothing more than a printing press, a dusty gramophone and a piano (played full blast to mask the sound of German shells), two British soldiers – Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson – published the first 12-page edition of what became the ‘unofficial’ newspaper of the Western Front. The Wipers Times (a phonetic pronunciation of Ypres by British soldiers) contained a mix of tales from the trenches and bawdy British satire lampooning senior allied officials. Needless to say, it was a welcome reprieve from the horrifying realities of the First World War. Twenty two editions were published before the war came to a close.

The Bullfrog Miner (1905)

Finding its feet at the end of the Gold Rush, The Bullfrog Miner was one of many short-lived periodicals providing news for mining communities. According to folklore, the initial rush to the Bullfrog district caused a heated battle between two editors, CW Nicklin and Frank P Mannix, who each claimed rights to the eponymous and irrefutably catchy namesake. After heated exchanges, the dispute was eventually settled when Nicklin renamed his paper The Beatty Bullfrog Miner (far catchier).

The Vernon Guard (1890)

Legend has it that the wildest of the Wild West were, in fact, the editors of the frontier newspapers that circulated throughout the Cattle Kingdom. Never afraid to put their opinion to paper, they were considered by many as unofficial community orators, chronicling the lives of their readership. So outspoken was the editor of the Vernon Guard, he once met with the threat of suffering a “sufficient number of holes” by the local sheriff. Sources suggest the editor did meet an untimely end; the pen is not, it would seem, mightier than a gun.

The Snowbound (1890)

The Snowbound is the stuff of journalistic legend. The story goes that in 1890, during a perilous Nevada winter, 600 passengers were stranded in Reno on the Southern Pacific Railroad. George T McCully took it upon himself to relieve the distress of his freezing companions by printing a paper. The Snowbound, “issued every weekday afternoon by S P Prisoner in Car No. 36”, was a four-page daily with the outside pages written in blue ink and the inside written in pencil. Sources suggest the publication wasn’t entirely successful, possibly because the editor charged the princely sum of 25¢ per issue.

The Antarctic Sun (1997)

Serving scientists, explorers and polar gardeners alike, The Antarctic Sun reports on all manner of news from this remote part of the world, funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the US Antarctic Programme. Expect to find stories on procedure for budding physicists on the search for neutrinos, comic strips, musings on the ‘utilitarian’ beauty of research station architecture and the cold hard facts of life in a sub-zero climate. The current editor, Mike Lucibella, publishes weekly during the austral summer, with the occasional mid-winter special.

Words by Matthew Iredale

These stories feature in issue 8 of Ernest Journal, alongside a fascinating article about the history of polar newspapers, written by Professor Elizabeth Leane. Pick up a copy of issue 8 today.

Issue 8 + special edition
10.00
Cover:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Lighthouses of the British Isles

Britain’s coastline is punctuated by over 300 lighthouses, built in some of the most inhospitable places. Illustrator Ben Langworthy embarked on a mission to draw every single one of them and tell their stories – we shine a light on three.

ardnamurchan.jpg

Ardnamurchan Point

Ardnamurchan is the most westerly point of mainland UK. Local legends tell of premonitions, kings and great battles, and there may be a husk of truth in such tales – in 2011, archaeologists uncovered a Viking boat burial nearby. The lighthouse, built in an ‘Egyptian’ style, was designed by Alan Stevenson (one of the great Scottish engineers) and fi rst lit in 1849. Today you can call in for a cuppa at the keepers’ cottages.

Trwyn Du, Anglesey.jpg

Trwyn Du

Trwyn Du, meaning ‘black point’ in Welsh, was first lit in 1838 and stands at around 96ft high, overlooking Puffin Island. Its engineer James Walker, keen to pioneer new innovations, installed an early example of a water closet with a drain at the base of the tower. This proved a bad idea during storms, when seawater had a tendency to surge up the drain, giving a nasty shock to any unsuspecting keeper using the facilities at the time.

bell rock (new).jpg

Bell Rock

The oldest lighthouse still in use in the world, Bell Rock is named after the rock on which it sits. How the rock gained its name is immortalised in the ballad ‘The Inchcape Rock’, written by Robert Southey in 1802. In the tale, the Abbot of Arbroath installs a bell on the rock to warn mariners of the reef, but a villainous pirate throws the bell into the sea. In a twist of fate, the pirate is himself later wrecked upon the rocks.

Follow Ben’s progress on Instagram @benlangworthyillustration or via his column at caughtbytheriver.net.

You can also buy signed A4 prints of Ben’s lighthouses on his etsy page.

Issue eight is here

We're thrilled to announce that issue eight is on sale now…and there’s a choice of covers, too!

Ernest slightly slower.gif

That's right, issue eight of Ernest Journal has been fully proofed, polished and printed - and we have to say, it's a bit of a belter.

As a result of our goat vs. tree cover discussion within the team and on Instagram, we're printing a special edition cover. 

The main cover (sold online and in shops across the land) features a wild goat on the slopes of Dinorwig Quarry, overlooking Llyn Peris. We are also releasing a limited run of 250 special editions featuring the lone tree of Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, on the cover. This special edition is only available to order online – and both covers options are now on sale, so make haste.   

Let’s have a peek inside…

ShantyBoats (1).jpg

Shantyboat: an alternative American history

From 19th-century pioneers that charted adventurous courses through vast inland waterways to contemporary communities that now live in their backwateers and the margins of society, river people are America’s secret history, as C.C. O’Hanlon reveals.

Bee-etiquette (1).jpg

The strange world of bee etiquette

Delve into British folk culture and you soon realise there are an awful lot of ways to offend a bee.

Roof-of-Wales (1).jpg

Snowdonia: the roof of Wales

Journey with us to Snowdonia as we trace its slate mining history, explore water’s unrelenting dominance in this landscape and follow a Welsh songline over the peaks that helped George Mallory and Edmund Hillary prepare for their Everest ascent.

Bitters (1).jpg

A bitter history

Trace the humble origins of bitters from the medicine cabinet to the cocktail bar. Negroni, anyone?

Romania (1).jpg

The bison's return

European bison have been reintroduced to the wilds of southwest Romania after 200 years of extinction. Ruth Allen traces their musky scent in the high forests of the Carpathians.

Yew-Trees (1).jpg

Immortal trees

A mystical being resides in the churchyards of Britain, capable of surviving across millennia, poisoning would-be foes and imbibing the vapours of the dead – Dan Cook explores the necrobotany of the yew.

Dunes.jpg

The far away

Immense, amorphous and otherworldly, sand dunes have enticed and beguiled travellers, artists and scientists for centuries. Nicholas Herrmann enters the dunescape of the imagination on the Grande Dune du Pilat in southwestern France.

AdriftAtlantic.jpg

Adrift in the Atlantic

French biologist Alain Bombard was so convinced that castaways could survive purely on the sea’s natural provisions that he set out to prove it on a most extraordinary voyage.

Like what you see? Don’t forget to subscribe.

 
Print Subscription 1 Year
from 21.50

Start your one year (two issues) subscription to Ernest Journal today:
£25 (UK), £30 (EU) & £35 (US) - save 10% per issue and get each copy delivered straight to your door.

*postage & packaging included in prices above.

Shipping to:
From Issue:
Quantity:
Add To Cart
Print Subscription 2 Years
from 41.50

Start your two year (four issues) subscription to Ernest Journal today:
£45 (UK), £60 (EU) & £70 (US) - save 10% per issue and get each copy delivered straight to your door.

*postage & packaging included in prices above.

Shipping to:
From Issue:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

The Odysseum: Larry 'Lawnchair' Walters (1949-1993)

Fresh from our third book The Odysseum – meet Larry Walters, the truck-driver who flew away on his own lawn chair.

 flickr/BrandonWalts

flickr/BrandonWalts

What do you do if your life’s ambition – to become a pilot with the US Air Force – gets shot down by poor eyesight? If you’re Larry Walters, you take matters into your own hands. In 1982 the California truck-driver, unperturbed by the stringent recruitment standards of the USAF, decided to take to the air in his own unique way: by attaching a large cluster of weather balloons to a lawn chair.

First, Larry and his girlfriend forged a requisition slip from his employer, Filmfair Studios, enabling them to purchase the 45 8-foot (2.4 m) weather balloons by saying they were to be used in a commercial. They then set about inflating the balloons and attaching them to Larry’s patio chair. He put on a parachute, strapped himself in and took off, carrying with him only the absolute essentials – a pellet gun (to shoot balloons if he went too high), a CB radio, a camera, sandwiches and, most essential
of all, a four-pack of beer.

The plan was to float 30 feet (9 m) above the Mojave Desert for a few hours, then effect a pleasant and gradual descent. To Larry’s horror, however, the chair rose from his yard in San Pedro much faster than expected – he was eventually to reach a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet (4,600 m) – and was soon drifting over Los Angeles and into the primary approach corridor for Long Beach Airport, where he was spotted by several commercial airliners.

By this point, Larry had achieved his primary aim – to fly – but now faced the problem of how not to fly. Floating in LA airspace was not, he knew, going to make him very popular. Initially, though, he was too scared to shoot any of the balloons in case he unbalanced and fell from his madcap contraption. He tried getting in touch with REACT – a citizen’s band radio monitoring organisation. As he put it to them:

‘… the difficulty is, ah, this was an unauthorised balloon launch and, uh, I’m sure my ground crew has alerted the proper authority. But, uh, just call them and tell them I’m okay.’

After 45 minutes of literally hanging around, he eventually plucked up the courage to shoot a few balloons – just before the gun went overboard. Fortunately, the cull, as far as it went, proved sufficient to get him moving in the right direction. The slow descent concluded among power cables, blacking out an entire Long Beach neighbourhood for 20 minutes.

Upon picking him up, the Long Beach Police Department made a decisive statement: ‘We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed.’ Walters was eventually charged with ‘operating a civil aircraft within an airport traffic area without establishing and maintaining 2-way communications with the control tower’. He was fined $4,000 – but his pilot’s licence couldn’t be suspended, since he didn’t have one.

Having achieved his dream, Larry spent a short period as a motivational speaker and appeared on both The David Letterman Show and The Late Show. Eventually, however, he went back to a simple life – working for the United States Forest Service and as a security guard. He died in 1993, but will always be remembered as ‘Lawnchair Larry’, inspiring a song, various copycat flights and the 2003 Australian film Danny Deckchair, starring Rhys Ifans.

Larry was by no means the only weather balloon pilot – there have been many cases of people putting thin bits of rubber between themselves and an unpleasant meeting with terra firma. One such case was the Brazilian priest Father Adelir Antônia de Carli, whose 2008 foray into the atmosphere left him both wet and headless.

Seemingly well prepared – he was an experienced skydiver, and he’d trained extensively in survival skills prior to his launch – there was one huge gap in his safety plan, quickly exposed when he caught a breeze and got blown out across the Atlantic. While floating over the ocean, he rang the authorities from his mobile phone to ask someone to explain how his GPS equipment worked. Not long after that he lost contact entirely. A few months later, some of his balloons, along with the lower half
of his body, were found floating in the sea.

On a happier note, Tom Morgan – a member of the Bristol-based League of Adventurists, reached a height of 8,000 feet (2,438 m) in October 2017 by tying 100 helium balloons to a camping chair and flying over the Sahara. He returned to Earth safe, dry and with all parts of his body intact.

Words: Jen Rowe

The Odysseum is available to pre-order via Amazon.