Tell us a little about yourself:
My love for wood has been an essential part of my life since I was a teenager. Today I’m 62 years old, live in Sweden, and share my time between my apartment just outside Stockholm and my house in the archipelago. My children have left the nest, I decided to quit my job some years ago, and now I’ve got plenty of time to do the things I really enjoy. Creating and working with my hands has always been important to me. I’m an trained cabinetmaker, and it was my profession for a period of my life; otherwise, I have mostly been self-employed.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
I lived in my own house for many years and had a well-equipped workshop in my cellar. Three years ago, I moved to an apartment, so it was bye-bye to the workshop, and I couldn’t do my woodworking! I had to ask myself, what can you do in an apartment if you love wood? Well, carve! Not only in the apartment but actually everywhere – sitting on a bench in the park, on a cliff by the sea, in a hotel room, indoors, outdoors… I started with dried wood but quickly moved on to greenwood! I became more and more hooked, and these days I carve as often as I can! Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, longing for the morning so I can get up and grab my knife. Now and then I make a shrink pot or a bowl, but mostly I put my focus on spoons and scoops. In my dining room in my apartment I’ve got a workbench and at my country house I’ve got my chopping block, the perfect combination.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
I’ve always had a particular interest in knives, I just love to cut with a sharp edge, it doesn’t matter if it’s wood or food. I prefer the great handmade tools from the Swedish blacksmith Svante Djärv, I have his knife, spoon knives, and a carving axe. I also have an excellent crook knife for flatter curves from Ben and Lois Orford and some carving knives from Morakniv.
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
I can recommend the book Swedish Carving Techniques by Wille Sundqvist. Otherwise, I think there’s a lot of instructive videos on YouTube regarding both carving and tool care.
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
When I started my Instagram account in 2018, it was a happy surprise that there was such a big and active spoon community! There are so many incredibly skillful carvers giving me knowledge and inspiration. It is hard to choose, but I can mention Darrick Sanderson, Sam Cooper, and Adam Hawker.
How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?
My experience continues to develop all the time. In the beginning, I used templates, nowadays I’m drawing freehand. I’m working on refining the lines and curves. I have also improved my axing technique and can go much further with the axe.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
When I started carving, I made plain spoons without any decorations. When I had finished a spoon, I felt the procedure had been pretty fast, I wanted more joy out of every piece of wood! To begin with, I wasn’t very fond of chip carving but started to make decorations just for the pleasure of being able to work a bit longer with every spoon. My spoons became more and more embellished. The next step, in making the process last even longer, was to start creating finials, the jewelry of the spoon. I started with a knob, but being a person who doesn’t appreciate to make the same thing twice, I’ve now made a lot of variations. It can be anything from a heart or a bird or just some shape my fantasy leads me to. For me, that moment is gratifying. I’ve never tried milk paint or kolrosing but maybe I will if I get tired of chip carving…
What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?
Creativity has always been an important part of my life. To make something with my hands increases my well-being. The process is primal, and the spoon can end up at the bottom of a drawer, it doesn’t matter, the carving is the main point! I also like the possibility of variation, don’t appreciate making two similar spoons.
If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?
I don’t usually listen to music while carving, but if I had to choose one artist, it would be the Swedish/Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun. I prefer a podcast as my company, or, if sitting outside, nature’s own sounds.
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
For my own pleasure, I love every part of the process, from cutting the log to the final treatment with linseed-oil.
Thanks Anne! You can follow her and inquire about purchasing her spoons on Instagram at @whittlinglady.