Introducing Pat Law and his canine friend Tizer
“Doing stuff for other people makes me feel good!”
It is a fact that among the legion of detectorists, there are some very intelligent and talented people, and in varying disciplines. I have been privileged and delighted to tell some of their stories in this blog and elsewhere. Using his special skill and talent Pat produces exquisite forms that are wonders to behold. Indeed, in a recent FB comment, Jackie Kirk said, “When the world collapses and there are no more apps or computers or storage systems: when the cloud is just a cloud, Pat’s carvings will become our history.”
Mr. Patrick Law is the tall guy who always detects in shorts and a beret, no matter what the weather – and wears a beard during the winter months. Pat is a stonemason who has crossed the line from craft to art and uses his artistic ability to carve stone into fantastic creations … like the ‘grotesque’ shown below. I had mistakenly called it a gargoyle, but Pat advised me on the difference. Evidently, a gargoyle is a carved grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building.
As an art student, rugby coach, teacher and a stonemason/carver in the family business, Pat has a rich history on which to look back.
First, something about his hobby: he started detecting ‘seriously’ in January 2015. Previously he’d stopped because “the technology wasn’t up to it.” Translated, that means he was an impatient young man and soon tired of collecting tractor parts and assorted dross. He described the experience as a “passing whim.”
One Man and his Dog
But now, things have changed – and it’s all thanks to Tizer, Pat’s highly adaptable Patterdale terrier. All permissions are local, so when the dog fancies an outing, Pat takes along his faithful friend … along with the Minelab CTX. They are the dream team! Used traditionally for hunting a wide array of quarry, the terrier is now perfecting his detecting skills, although searching in thunder and lightening can be exciting – but not recommended! Tizer doesn’t like loud bangs! “He’s as daft as a brush”, says Pat, “runs all morning then sleeps all afternoon … then again perhaps he isn’t so daft after all!”
Yorkshireman Pat loves local history and told me in his colourful evocative language, “Hammered coins are okay, but I’m more interested in what was going on with love tokens, those juicy slices of romantic history, and also spindle whorls.
Pat says: I’m fascinated for every one has such a story to tell … and I wonder why I collect so many! In my wanderings across the pastures I’ve found a few of these sad rejections of passion. Every time I wonder what transpired when the token was accidentally lost … or deliberately thrown away. Was he a philanderer? Was the girl seeing another? We will never know for definite!”
The Whorl Pool
Friends jokingly say that Pat has a ‘Whorl Pool’. Why does the ubiquitous spindle whorl get him ‘buzzing’? I’ll let him explain, “Spindle whorls have been made from many materials throughout history. It is the ones cast in lead that I find enthralling and I remember that incredulity when I found my first one. They are fascinating!
“I’d only been detecting for a few weeks and resigned myself to finding only Georgian items on the land I was on … then I found my first. This wasn’t a coin that changed hands on a regular basis but a personal item owned most likely by a woman. Perhaps she used – and lost it while out in the field. Was she upset at losing it? Did she place a value on it? Was it one of many she possessed? All these thoughts ran through my mind as I looked at my first whorl. I’m sure all the whorl was thinking was ‘put me back on the spindle and let’s get back to work!’ After the first find they have come out at a fairly steady and at the last count I have unearthed 58. Perhaps they would prefer to live in my house rather than in the field. Every single one from the highly decorated to the basic washer type makes me happy. When I see that off-white disc peering from the freshly dug loam I know that even if I find nothing else that day I will be going home with a smile on my face!
The fact is that somebody used his or her hands a lot, making it and using it and I can identify with that! I think of a whorl as a woman’s tool – her means of making a living. What was going on that so many were discarded and I find so many? Were they thrown away because there was a better model? Thoughts like these are what go through my head.”
I first came across Pat when I was searching for material to include in a newsletter I was creating. What he said was simple, but very profound, and worth repeating for a wider audience.Continue reading “A Law Unto Himself”