Last weekend I was invited up to Northumberland to teach a group how to carve wooden spoons.
It’s always a busy couple of days, starting with practising efficient and accurate axework followed by learning how to use the straight sloyd knife in a variety of ways to make use of the biggest muscles and so reduce stress on the body. Some of these seem a bit awkward at first so I always make sure there’s time for individual help and it was very satisfying for me to see the students get the hang of them and start to use them naturally in their carving.
On Saturday evening I was invited for dinner with Kate Jackson, who organised the course. Two of her kids who were on the course and had obviously been bitten by the wooden spoon bug.
We started Sunday morning with some specific exercises for spoon carvers, focusing on stretches for the hands, wrists and forearms then onto hollowing using the hook knife. I teach a variety of ways to use these so that even beginners can make quick progress and refine the shape they want.
For David, who’s made spoons before and wanted to improve his skills, I brought some crooks to challenge him and he made a lot of progress on what will be a large birch serving spoon.
Then on Sunday afternoon there’s time for everyone to work on their own spoons at their own pace while I add little tips and advice. This is a time for people to relax and get in the zone; the silence was deafening.
They made a load of great spoons!
If you’d like to learn to carve, I will be teaching in Cumbria on 3rd & 4th October. If that’s too long to wait, why not book at individual day of tuition or a course for your group. Have a look at my Courses page and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book or discuss your course.