Tell us a little about yourself:
I am Benoit and I live in Switzerland. I studied biology, in particular the relationship between soil and vegetation and the functioning of ecosystems.
I am currently doing a mandatory civil service in the maintenance of biotopes in the Swiss Alps. I do mainly tree cutting and mowing as well as work in bogs and lowlands
I work with green wood and carve spoons for around 5 years as a hobby. Creating a spoon both functional and beautiful from a tree is a real pleasure of green woodcarving. A spoon is basically a bowl and a handle that can have an infinity of different shapes. The materials I use are mostly gathered from the area surrounding the area of Biel/Bienne, in Switzerland. Everything I make is with a deep love for nature, forests, and trees.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
It’s been about 5 years since I started carving, I do not really remember. I have always loved tools such as knives and axes, and I think it is to use them that I started carving.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
I really like tools and I probably have too many! I particularly like hand-forged tools that have their own character, and which allow you to appreciate the mastery of the craftsperson.
Here is a list of some great blacksmiths whose work I greatly appreciate; Nic Westermann, Hans Karlsson, Reid Schwartz, Svante Djärv, Kay Embretsen and Julia Kalthoff
And there are many more that I have not yet tested.
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
I truly like the videos on spoonclub.co.uk, there are a lot of videos and they are really very high quality and cover a lot of different subjects
There are videos on YouTube, the videos of Spoon carving with Tom (Tom Scandian) and Woodsman Finest (Maximilian Neukäufler) are full of resource and of high quality.
And I also really like the book Spon (by Barn The Spoon) and Slöjd in Wood (by Jögge Sundqvist)
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
There are many people who inspire me, I will not quote them because I will probably forget some.
Otherwise you can go see people I am following on Instagram.
I try to buy a spoon or an item of people who really inspire me when I can. I find it very inspiring to have the object in hand to appreciate the talent and the expertise of the craftsperson.
How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?
I do not really know how my carving techniques changed over time. I think it’s when I decide to stop using sandpaper that my knife skills have increased a lot. I also think that over time I gained experience in my various carving skills.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
I love it! It can really add beauty to a spoon. I love it especially when experienced carver uses it.
I love to use milk paint. But I use less often chip carving and coloring because I am always a bit anxious to mess up the spoon.
What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?
For me, craft is an activity involving skill in making things by hand.
Sloyd means to me a way of creating with the satisfaction of making ingenious, clever, artful, and functional objects with simple tools. And where the choice of material and work methods must be mastered to get strong and durable objects.
Wood culture is to create or to use wooden objects with the aim of supporting the craftspersons and to show that there are alterations to the industrialization.
If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?
When I am in the wild, I simply listen to the sounds of nature.
When I am in the workshop I listen to various types of music. The top 3 songs I listen recently are:
- Spirit bird by Xavier Rudd
- Urban by Kate Stone
- Trøllabundin by Eivør Pálsdóttir
But I also enjoy listening to classical music, folk and traditional music.
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
Because I love it! It is a wonderful feeling to be able to make something both functional end beautiful from a tree.
Thanks Benoit ! You can follow him and inquire about purchasing his spoons on Instagram at @bjarkan.slojd.
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.