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  Selected Makers

Joe Musialowski

Wren Country Sticks
I started Wren Country Sticks in 2006. However I have been making shepherds crooks and walking sticks for a long time before that. Originally my inspiration to make crooks was fired by stick makers competitions at Country Fairs and Shows, often organised by The British Stickmakers Guild. Now my motivation is to make functional things of beauty which give their owners pleasure to own and use.

The bulk of my work is derived from commissions by word of mouth, my website or the single advert I post in the Sheep Dog Trialers News, which is published by the governing body of the International Sheep Dog Society.

While I like to use very traditional materials such as rams horn and hardwood timbers in the making of my crooks, I am always on the out look for other more exotic materials such as buffalo horn, gazelle horn, and even acrylics.

Traditionally rams horn must be heated, pressed, squeezed and formed to create a shepherds crook.The transformation of a rough horn into the finished article takes many hours of heating and forming, followed by as many hours of filing and sanding and then finally polishing.

Crooks may be plain, meaning there is no form of decoration. Or decorated with a carving of typically a Border Collie dog, a painted portrait of the owners dog or the owner name engraved on the horn.

The shank or stick is almost always hazel, which is strong and light and suits the needs of the shepherd perfectly. Yew and Oak burr are amongst the hard wood timbers I favour when making wooden crooks. These two timbers have the most beautiful  patterns and colours and when combined with a central timber laminate make a very appealing and durable crook.

While shepherds crooks make up the bulk of my work, there is sufficient work making  shooters thumb sticks and rifle rests and other country style walking sticks to keep me occupied for many months of the year.

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"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 1 day we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.