I’m very happy to share an interview with Anthony DiPietro.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 38 years old and live in Connecticut. I have always had a deep respect and love for nature since I was a kid. Trees especially have always been my favorite. They are very wise and deserve much of our respect on this earth. I married my best friend, and she is the best thing that ever happened to me. She also stands behind me and my love/obsession with spoon carving.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
I have been carving spoons for about three years. In the first two years, I was carving part-time. Since then, I started carving full time, and that’s how I make a living now. I wake up every morning, truly loving what I do. I first got interested in this craft actually through a video I saw of Ben Orford making a spoon with an axe and a couple of different knives. I was hooked from that moment on. My career started as a hobby, and that blows my mind every time. I feel like I’m a very lucky man.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
Some of my favorite carving tools are, of course, the Mora 106. I also use many Del Stubbs knives. He is an amazing blacksmith, and you can tell he loves what he does. Also, the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet. Last but not least, my new best friend – a carving axe made by Jason Lonon. He is another very talented blacksmith out of North Carolina.
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
There are many books out there that are excellent with spoon carving. Looking back, I probably should have picked up a few books. Check out Barn’s book and videos by Jarrod Dahl. I pretty much taught myself through trial and error. I believe books can help you a great deal, but you have to try your hardest every day and know that it will get easier.
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
Spoon carvers who inspire me would be Barnaby Carder, Jarrod Dahl, Dan Lawrence, and many others.
How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?
My techniques have slightly changed over time. Meaning I allow the piece of wood to tell me the design of what the spoon will be.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
I haven’t gotten into any milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving as of yet. I believe there is a lot of beauty within a good simple spoon design without any bells and whistles if you will. Maybe someday, though.
What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?
In terms of wood culture. To me, it means to love, respect, and admire the wood itself and mother nature. The role we play is to pass this knowledge down to the next generations.
If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?
It’s hard for me to pick certain favorite songs that I listen too. I tend to listen to lots of classical, some country music, different rock bands, and definitely some heavy metal from time to time. I do notice between the different genres of music. The spoons themselves take on characteristics of the music. Meaning the spoons, I carve listening to classical tend to come out very elegant with smooth lines. Where and the spoons that were carved, say listening to heavy metal come out very bold, sharp lines and even a sense of confidence in their form. The subconscious is a powerful tool.
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
I carve spoons first and foremost because I believe the form of a spoon is extremely beautiful and an ancient elegance. Also, I enjoy that they all come out different from one another. They all have their own personalities. Lastly, there was a time in my life where I was eating out of dumpsters for a few months. There is nothing worse than being hungry. So today, I am making functional art that people can feed themselves with. I am very happy and content with that. Also, the beauty that hand tools possess is magical and humbling to me. They allow you to slow down and enjoy life. I will be carving spoons until my hands stop working. I truly love this craft!!
As I have said previously, my goals with this website are to learn more about spoon carving and connect with the great community of spoon carvers out there. I welcome carvers to contact me if you would like to be interviewed to share your thoughts on the craft of spoon carving.