I’m very happy to share the following interview with Tamara Kusters.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born and raised in Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands. Since I was 16 years old, I moved around a lot. When I turned 21, I went to live in France for two years and another two years in Germany after that. I now live in the centre of the Netherlands, close to a beautiful protected national park.
I have a degree in cabinetry and worked as a cabinet maker a little while, but I hated it because everything has to be produced really fast. It kills the beauty of woodworking and makes it hard to really connect with the material you are working with. So now I work somewhere else part-time and make things out of wood in my spare time. I like taking my time.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
Since I lived in France, I carved a few times. But never spoons. I had no idea about wooden spoons at that time. When I lived in Germany, someone showed me how to make knife handles from beautiful Scandinavian birch and antler. I loved making knife handles. The same person also gave me a wooden spoon as a Christmas present. Weirdly enough, it never occurred to me I could also make a spoon out of wood. That came later, which is about 2 months ago when I found that spoon again. I immediately felt a boost of enthusiasm and started carving away.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
Most of the time, I use a Gransfors Bruks wildlife hatchet, a Mora wood carving knife, and a Mora hook knife. I also use a Japanese saw and a spokeshave sometimes.
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
To be honest…besides my old study/school books about cabinetmaking, I have no suggestions for you about books or websites on spoon carving or woodwork. I look at other people and let myself become inspired by certain shapes and decorations. If I have the chance, I’d rather ask someone directly about something. It is nice to be in contact with others about things like this.
The best advice I could give is to be open minded and a little bit stubborn.
I love going my own way and learn from my own mistakes. I absolutely love that moment when inspiration hits me and takes me along its crazy and exciting path into the process of creating something.
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
Luke Hope: for the simplicity and cleanness in his work.
Jane Mickelborough: for her precision in spoon carving, she makes really beautiful folding spoons, which take a lot of precision and skill to make.
Ariele Alasko: she carves amazing spoons/things/objects out of wood, and her creativity keeps surprising me.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
I think those decorative techniques are a joy to look at. But my interest in spoon carving, or wood carving in general, is going more towards shapes. I love how beautiful a simple shape can be, but also so challenging/difficult to make some times.
If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?
Nils Frahm – Says
Rival Consoles – Recovery
Brandenburg concerto no. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: 3. Allegro
Antonio Carlos Jobim – Desafinado
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
Because when I do it, I feel like my head, heart, and hands merge together. I guess it’s also kind of instinctive thing to do, the creating of something functional out of a natural material using my hands. It’s what human beings have been doing for thousands of years. It just feels good.
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.