Our Christmas present to Charlie and Jasper was a two-day knife-making workshop at Gardner Knives, based at beautiful Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley.
On our New Zealand holiday last year, Jasper had been entranced by the blacksmithing facilities at Weta, where swords were made for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Then later in the year we happened across the artist-in-residence knife maker at Seppeltsfield. Sword... knife...more or less the same thing, only rather more useful in real life!
Andy was keen to make himself a chef's knife. And two January workshop days became available due to a cancellation. No time like the present! Even if the forecast was 38 degrees C both days (and rising).
Seppeltsfield is a very large, old winemaking property established by the Seppelt family. Whilst the Seppelts are no longer owners, it has recently returned to private ownership and management that is determined to preserve its heritage and restore its place in the Barossa community. Which is so nice to know in these times when so many grand old family businesses are bought by faceless corporations, properties are sold off and brands become meaningless logos slapped on whatever sells.
The process of polishing an antler knife handle with a belt sander produces an odd, not entirely pleasant smell that Charlie likened to burnt cornchips and Andy to having your teeth drilled. Just in case you were wondering.
At the end of the second day, clouds were gathering and when we dropped into a winery on the way home, we were treated to spectacular lightning, thunder and downpour that we watched from the broad verandah overlooking paddocks and vines. (Photos taken out that way were a uselessly rainy blur.) It was a welcome relief after the heat and also much-needed to help contain a scary large bushfire that was out of control in the Mount Lofty Ranges.
- Jane xx