I have no idea what I am doing by taking up spoon carving other than the simple fact that I wanted a change in my life. A month or two ago, my wife asked if I had seen the book review of Heirloom Wood: A Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls, Boards, and Other Homewares by Max Bainbridge in a magazine that she was reading. I told I hadn’t and then later read it. It looked good, so I requested it from the library, and I was immediately drawn in by the magic as I turned the pages. I requested The Artful Wooden Spoon: How To Make Exquisite Keepsakes for the Kitchen by Joshua Vogeln and that only reinforced the calling to carve.
I like to think I know why I want to carve spoons and that is that most of my daily experience is scattered and distracted with noise from people and screens. I was, and still do, spend far too much time in front of a computer screen in my work and a librarian and web developer. Spoons, in all of their hands-on simplicity, could maybe take me away from some of the digital nonsense! Plus, I have been desperate to practice mindfulness meditation, but I just can’t do sitting meditation. I realized while cutting wood on a table saw that working with sharp blades encourages mindfulness.
So in the last few weeks, I have bought a number of books and tools. Also, I signed up for a great online video series taught by a man named Barn the Spoon who’s kind slow pace is calming no matter how crazy the day has been. Oh yeah, and I carved two spoons!
My hope with with spoon carving is to get back into a craft. I miss that beautiful evolution of knowing nothing and learning until something just becomes natural. I want to approach carving differently though than I have a have with my learning in the past. I was to keep a beginner’s mind and mimic the excitement and joy that I see in my four-year-old when he is playing or trying something new.
I created this website as a way to keep track of all of the spoon carving resources I am discovering. I wanted an easy way to compile everything that I am learning. I also hope to connect with the spoon carving community. I just signed up for Jarrod Dahl’s workshop and hope to attend the Fifth Annual Driftless Folk School Spoon Gathering. I’m looking forward to conversations there and, hopefully, through this website too.
One the best nights of this summer so far was sitting on the front stoop at the farm in Wisconsin, drinking a Fair State Brewing Coop Roselle (an amazing brew made from hibiscus of all things!) and carving a branch of apple wood gathered that afternoon from the pasture orchard. Yes, there is a correlation between beer, sharp blades and bloody bandaged fingers!