“In carving fresh, green wood for spoons I hope that the reader will discover trees; I hope they will discover that carving with basic edge tools, the knife and the axe, is a beautiful thing. This book will suggest that spoons are really sculptural forms, with complex angles and facets requiring both measured and instinctive cuts — and often illusions of perspective — and that spoons are as subtle, varied and valid as any other type of sculpture.”
— Barn the Spoon, Spōn: A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture
One of the joys of Greenwood Fest was meeting Barn the Spoon. You’ll never meet a more authentic guy. Barn has lived a fascinating life and approaches spoon carving with a great deal of thought and sensitivity. Barn’s story, philosophy, and practical tutelage can all be found in his book, Spōn. Spōn is the ancient Anglo-Saxon word for a chip of wood.
The book takes the reader through the philosophical side of working from nature, through the tools, grasps, and procedures of making a spoon, and on through sixteen designs of spoons to carve. It will help anyone, carver or not, to develop an appreciation for the subtle beauty of these little utilitarian sculptures.
While on a trip with my family last week, I took some time away from bowls, but was still able to take a couple knives and some roughed-out blanks and get in some spoon carving.
No workbench or heavy tools required — very peaceful, calming work. At a relatively small scale, it is fun to play around with designs and subtle differences in form.
After a few more touches here and there, these will be ready to take a swim in some flax-seed oil.
Then the real journey begins. As Barn writes, “This deep sense you get is almost analogous to listening to a song, where the effect may not be that obvious to begin with but, when meeting it every day, a feeling builds up over time.”