I’m very happy to share this interview with Peter Moule.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 22 years old and just finished a four-year degree in Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Last summer and fall selling spoons was my full-time job which allowed me to learn a lot about carving and running a small business among many other things. Right now, I’m working in French River, Ontario, for a lodge doing canoe guiding and office work. In addition to my own Instagram account, I also created the @spooncarvingmemes account.
How long have you been carving and how did you first get interested in it?
I think I’ve been carving for about five years now. I started towards the end of high school after seeing a picture of a carved wooden spoon on the internet and thinking, “Hey, I could do that!”. I’d been trying other kinds of carving and woodworking like walking sticks and figures, but there was something about spoons that just grabbed my interest, and I had to make more. Five years later and now I think I’ve probably carved 500 or more spoons.
What are a few of your favorite spoon carving tools?
I keep my carving tool kit pretty small as I move around a lot and don’t have an actual workshop. Basically, I have a few Mora 106s, a Matt White Monadnock hook, and a custom hook that Matt made me last summer with a much tighter radius for doing small spoons and scoops. My go-to carving axe is a Toronto Blacksmith Viking carving axe. Throw in a chip carving knife that I got at Lee Valley and a few things for sharpening, and that’s pretty much my whole tool kit.
Any suggestions of books or websites to learn about spoon carving or woodwork?
I really like Barn’s Spon book! The photography is really beautiful, and every time I open it, I get inspired to go carve a spoon. Spoonesaurus magazine is also really good for learning new skills and finding out about other carvers.
Are there any particular spoon carvers who inspire you in your work?
There are tons of really great carvers that I look up to, but Emmet Van Driesche probably inspires me the most! He’s one of the more prolific carvers I know of, and his hard-working attitude and resourcefulness are something to aspire to. He’s also just one of the most generous people I’ve ever met – and he makes a damn nice spoon too!
How have your spoon carving techniques changed over time?
I think the biggest thing that has changed for me is the speed at which I carve. As my skills have progressed, I’ve just cut out parts of the process that have become redundant now. Like when I was starting out, I would go over the same part of a spoon multiple times – rough it out with the axe, then rough knife cuts, then finishing knife cuts. Now I just go straight from the axe to finishing cuts with the knife which saves a lot of time.
As my skills have developed, I’ve become a lot more confident, so take much larger, more deliberate cuts that have changed not only how long it takes to make a spoon but also how the finished spoon looks. I also used to spend hours sanding spoons when I started, which I’ve completely cut out of my process now and just go with a knife finish.
What are your thoughts on popular decorative techniques like milk paint, kolrosing, or chip carving?
I used to be all about plain spoons, but over the past couple of years, I’ve been really into decoration! I think adding colour and decoration just makes carving and using the spoon so much more fun! I also really enjoy carving silly/stupid decorations into my spoons on occasion and encourage others to try it as well (check out the #spooncarvingmemesdumbbullshitchallenge hashtag on Instagram to see what I mean).
What do craft, sloyd, or wood culture mean to you?
To me, wood culture represents bringing wood back into the home and back into everyday life. I think by using wooden and handmade items we create meaning in every day tasks like cooking and eating. Using items that other people have made is also really nice because it makes you think of them! From an environmental standpoint, I think, in many cases, wood could be a great alternative to plastics. I’d love to see more people and companies replacing single-use plastics with wood.
If you had to pick a few songs to listen to while carving, what would they be?
I listen to a lot of different kinds of things, and my musical tastes change all the time. For roughing out spoons, I like music with a good solid beat to chop to. Recently I’ve been really into pop music for axe carving – Carly Rae Jepsen is one of my favourite pop musicians (her most recent album is really good, and everyone should listen to it). I also have a playlist of really fast banjo music, which, when paired with a couple cups of coffee, makes me really good at roughing out spoons quickly. For knife carving, I usually listen to podcasts instead of music because it keeps my mind entertained while my hands are working. Recently I’ve been getting into Not Another D&D Podcast, which is a really funny podcast of a group of comedians playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Lastly, why do you carve spoons?
Carving spoons for me is really meditative, so I find it very calming and relaxing. It’s also really nice to make something with your hands – it’s very rewarding and gives a sense of accomplishment to be able to hold a finished spoon after working on it for an hour or two.
As nice as those other things are, and I know everyone says, “you don’t carve spoons to make money,” at this point, spoon carving also brings in a reasonable amount of income for me. So that’s also pretty good motivation for why I carve spoons!
Thanks Peter! You can follow him and inquire about purchasing his spoons on Instagram at @peter_moule and enjoy his spoon carving humor at @spooncarvingmemes. You can also visit Peter’s website at www.hockleycrestspoonco.com.
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.