I’m very happy to share the following interview with Jonathan Jekic.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a 22 year old guy from Germany. I always loved being outside, going to the forest, and of course, working with wood. When I finished school, I did a vocational education as a lumberjack. During my time as a lumberjack, I learned a lot about trees and forests, and I also collected a lot of different woods. It was the perfect time to start green woodworking, as I had an almost unlimited supply of any wood I wanted. In the summer of 2018, I started studying Arboriculture. At the moment I’m learning a lot about trees and their environment. I don’t want to do woodworking full time, but I think it’s cool to combine my personal interests with my future job while learning anything about trees. I also found a lot of new friends at my university with the same interests as me, and I even gave spoon carving lessons to some of them.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
I always carved a lot in my childhood, but I mostly made little figures, wooden knives, and bows. Then three years ago, I started with spoon carving. Back then, I watched a lot of YouTube videos from different outdoor channels, and in one video, someone carved a spoon. I can’t remember the video exactly, but I know that the guy in the video was just making a really simple spoon with a straight handle using a cheap hook knife and his bushcraft knife. Somehow I really liked the idea of making a spoon with simple tools, so I ordered a hook knife and gave it a go.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
I learned most of my woodworking skills by watching the videos from Zed outdoors on YouTube. He offers a large variety of videos to any topic of green woodworking with a lot of different makers.
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
The people that had the biggest influence in my spoon carving career are probably Spooncarving with Tom and Adam Hawker. Tom’s videos were a great help when I started carving, and his spoons are still a huge inspiration. Adam’s kolrosing tutorial on Youtube opened a whole new opportunity for me to decorate my spoons. There are a lot of other great makers too that I just can’t name all here.
How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?
When I started spoon carving, I didn’t know anything about green woodworking. I usually picked up a piece of wood and just started carving. Nowadays, I really pay attention to what kind of wood I carve and how I turn the piece of wood dependent on intended decoration or desired grain pattern. I also try to make my spoons as thin as possible without creating weak spots in the designs. If you look at some of my older spoons, you can see that they were not quite as thin as my newer ones.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
I have tried all the decorative techniques, but my all-time-favorite by far is kolrosing. I really like to try out different patterns or even small paintings on my spoons. Sometimes I combine some chip carving elements with kolrosing. It really makes the spoon more interesting. Kolrosing is easier than it looks, and I can only recommend anyone that is into spoon carving to try it out. Milk paint is really cool too, but I only have red and black milk paint at home at the moment, so my options for using it are minimal. I also use milk paint only on lighter wood like sycamore, field maple, or cherry.
What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?
Craft, sloyd, and wood culture mean to me to create a beautiful, usable item from a piece of inconspicuous wood while having a great time making it. Everything you create from a piece of wood using only hand tools makes a really unique piece that, in some cases, may not be as durable or practical as a mass-produced item, but it will always catch an eye before something mass-produced. It also makes a huge difference if you give something as a gift that you made by yourself with blood, sweat, and tears.
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
I carve spoons because I really enjoy making them. Every spoon you make looks unique, and even if you have two spoons with the same shape, the colour of the wood and the grain orientation are always individual. Spoon carving is super relaxing, and it’s really rewarding to see the process you make when you look at spoons you made some months ago. There are so many beautiful kinds of wood you can use, infinite designs and decoration techniques, and you can always learn something and improve your skills when you try out something new.
Thanks Jonathan! You can follow him and inquire about purchasing his spoons on Instagram at @jonathan_jekic.
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.