Teaching a new professional spoon carver

Another 1-to-1 spoon carving day, this time with Dan Lawrence who I’ve watched developing his skills over the last few years and is now aiming to make his living from greenwood carving. He came on my short course at Spoonfest 2013 and decided to spend some of a business start-up grant to have a whole day of individual spoon carving tuition from me.

It’s obviously quite a different teaching experience since there’s no need to go through how to use the tools and his carving was already very proficient. We’d talked in advance about objectives for the day and Dan’s principal interest was learning to carve cranks into his spoons for better ergonomics and how to make that shape flow as a whole. With a combination of example spoons, diagrams and practise we concentrated on that with deviations into other techniques and subtleties as they arose.

Dan spoon carving Dan hollowing the spoon using his twca cam

It reminded me a lot of my time in Sweden working with Fritiof Runhall when I won the QEST Scholarship last year. Learning at this level is less about simple ‘how-to’ instruction and more about working alongside someone more experienced, observing and questioning and generally trying to absorb what they’re doing in order to put it into your own work. He made copious amounts of notes, both in his book and on the spoons themselves.

spoon carving notes

We had both agreed that it was more important to focus on spoon carving techniques rather than finishing individual spoons which allowed us to get through a lot of stuff but the day seemed all too short. Fortunately Dan had time to stop over at my place so we could continue the discussions into the evening over a couple of beers.

It’s terrific to see new carvers coming on to the scene, especially when they’re as committed and skilled as Dan. He’s putting in a lot of thought and effort not only into learning the craft but also to understand the aesthetic and ergonomic challenges of carving excellent wooden spoons for people to use in their kitchen. Here’s the serving spoon that Dan carved straight after the course.
Dan's serving spoon with hook Dan's serving spoon with hook

Whether you’re brand new to carving or looking to improve, my courses will give you the skills you need; either contact me to arrange a 1-to-1 or come along to my spoon carving weekend course on 5-6 July where I can get you started safely or extend your current techniques. To book simply email me at steve-tomlin[at]hotmail.co.uk

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About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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