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May 24, 2013

Dreamcatcher Gateway

The theme at KonTiki this year was the Wild West, and my troop, Ninth Benoni, decided to lean towards Indians rather than Cowboys. One of our Assistant Troop Scouters, Greg Gardiner, designed this gateway, and led the Scouts in harvesting the materials and building it over the course of a few weekends.

Greg started with a sketch of what he was aiming to achieve. The Scouts had made small dreamcatchers to decorate the raft with, and this large one ties the campsite design back into the raft design.

The first step in the process was harvesting willow branches from the trees that grow at our Scout hall. Willow has been harvested like this for centuries to make baskets, eel traps and other craft items, and the trees recover with no ill effects. A circle was staked out on the ground and the willow branches wrapped around this circle, braiding and twisting the branches together the whole time.

After the frame was complete, the string net was tied into the frame. It became clear that the will alone would not be strong enough to hold its shape, so a square frame of laths was added on the outside.

The entire gate was suspended from the gateway frame from a rope that had a twist put into it, so that if left to swing, the gate would automatically close itself.

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