It’s been a long cold winter, but that’s expected in Minnesota. I actually love the cold and darkness. It gives me an excuse to be alone and enjoy the solitude. One thing that I do need though, is a good dose of fire and ice, so every night when I sit down to carve or write, I light up a luminary.
I’ve been playing with different forms of embellishment. I carved, charred, and roasted a series of butterknives. So far, I’ve discovered that it’s the “white woods” that are most suited to roasting. E.g., birch is better than apple. I’ve had mixed results with charring. After one experiment, my wife commented that it looked like I dropped a spreader into a campfire.
This month I had the good fortune of attending Wood Week at the North House Folk School. I went for a wagatabon workshop with Shinichi Moriguchi and Masashi Kutsuwa. The class was coordinated by Jarrod Dahl, and I have to say it truly felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. The vide at North Hose oozes in supportive creativity, and I’m so grateful that I had a chance to meet some really awesome kind-hearted people there.
Shinichi made the wagatabon in the following photo, and I was fortunate to buy it. It is so beautiful.
I really love the meditative form of wagatabon. When I got home, I made another out of birch.
What else do you do after Wood Week at Horth House? Carve spoons, of course! I picked up some birch – many thanks to Marco Good and Fred Livesay for providing some wonderful wood. It’s so sweet to carve birch after so many months of carving apple.
I’ve been spending some time every day looking at spoons that I bought (or was given) from other carvers and comparing their work to my own. The beauty and perfection of their spoons make the flaws of my own spoons pop, and through that experience, I learn a ton about how to make my carving better. Books and online videos about spoon carving are great; however, there is so much to be said about buying a spoon from a carver you respect and spending some time contemplating their work. Buy spoons, learn from them, and then enjoy using them.
At the end of the day, it’s the chips on the floor that remind me how far I’ve gone on the journey.
Last thing, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to interview Deborah Schneebeli Morrell about her spoon carving at the end of this month.