An Interview with Kim Fejgin

Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Kim Fejgin and I live in Malmö, Sweden with my partner Malin, and our two kids Smilla (10) and Samson (7). I am 40 years old and work as a neuroscientist in a pharma company specializing in diseases of the brain. I have always liked spending time outdoors ever since being a scout, and any activities that take me to the woods appeal to me, although there is a bit less time (and energy) for this these days.

How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?

I have been carving 2.5 years. I was gifted a new standard Mora with plastic handle by a neighbour at the summer house, he said I could use it for fishing. But on the footpath to the sea I saw a juniper branch in a ditch, and figured why not try if the new knife is sharp. Juniper is the classic butter spreader you make in the slöjd classes in Swedish schools, so I kind of made the association immediately. Well, what can I say, no fishes were caught that evening… Instead i made a butter spreader (you can still see it in one of my first Instagram posts) and I lost track of time and place – I loved it! So I googled how to carve a spoon, and 2.5 years later I’m totally hooked and just regret I did not begin creating with my hands earlier!

What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?

There are many nice tools, but if have to pick it would be my Bo Helgesson hook knife (cuts like a laser) and and a small Wetterlings pack hatchet from the 1920s (used in the harbors for packing/unpacking wooden crates) that I use for smaller spoons.

Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?

I really recommend taking a physical carving course if possible. But I must say Barn et al have really nailed it with, I can think of no better place to start on the web as a beginner.

Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?

So many. But Maryanne (@turnaleg), Pat (@klipnockywoods), Darrick (@dcsandersoninc), Arseny (@arsenyhill), Max (@woodsmansfinest), Barn (@barnthespoon) and Knut Östgård all deserve a special mention.

How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?

A lot. I was trying to be very precise in my plans of what to carve in the beginning, fussing about measures of different parts of the spoon etc. Now I wing it, draw it freehand, and take it from there. I realized planning too much really inhibits my creativity so it’s all very impulse driven (but not very consistent). Obviously, axing technique and knife handling have improved a lot since I begun (plenty more to learn though!)

What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?

I like it a lot, I think it adds another layer of fun! For some reason, kolrosing has not interested me so much (I guess because it takes planning, hehe) but I do rudimentary chip carving /texturing and play with colors, mostly milk paint and pigment+linseed oil. Oh and the occasional baking and torching. But I need to carve a “plain” spoon once in a while to really develop. I feel that they are most revealing of your abilities and technique. Decoration can sometimes distract you from chasing the shapes that are sweet.

What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?

That’s a big question! It means meditation, a feeling of accomplishment, connection to nature, a joy of giving and being part of an extraordinary community. But the result is bigger than the sum of all pieces!

If you had to pick few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?

The song of my Bo Helgesson spoon knife rippin’ across the grain in a spoon bowl 🙂

Or a podcast.

Lastly, why do you carve spoons?

I carve spoons out of pure joy, but also to remain sane. A few years back I had a stress-induced exhaustion/burnout that marked me for life. The carving is somehow healing me spoon by spoon. After a rough day at work or elsewhere, an hour of carving can somehow help me reset my system into a more peaceful state. It’s truly fantastic how such a seemingly simple activity can give you so much, and I know I’m not the only one who feels like this!

I don’t have a webshop because I hesitate whether it will be fun or kill my joy for carving, but I sometimes sell at markets or if someone asks. Most are given away to friends and family. Also swapping spoons is good fun and a great way to learn the craft by studying the work of others!

Thanks Kim! You can follow him and inquire about purchasing his spoons on Instagram at @kimkong.