Why Spoons, Why Now?
Carving out a connection with tradition and with each other.
by Peter Follansbee
In August 2016, I attended the 5th annual Spoonfest, the largest international gathering of spoon carvers, in Edale, Derbyshire, England. More than 200 people came from far and wide to spend anywhere from three to six days totally engrossed in spoon carving. One question I had for them, and for all the spoon carvers I meet, is “why spoons, why now?”
Well, one of the first answers you get leads to what I call the First Universal Lie of Spoon Carving.
“You only need three tools,” they say. (I’ve said it too.) A hatchet, a slöyd knife and a hook knife for hollowing the bowl. Well, first off, you also need a saw for cutting the limbs, branches and other bits of raw material. So it’s four tools. But we always say three. And, the part that makes it even more of a lie: Every spoon carver I meet has more tools than he or she can keep track of. Long and short, deeply curved and shallow curves. Heavy hatchets and lighter ones. I am not immune. I find new toolmakers and I think, I’d like to try this knife or that hatchet. It goes on. So you end up with multiples of the basic tools, then add the more specialized ones – maybe some hollowing adzes, if you can find a small one. How about the largest hook knives, the “twca cam” of Welsh spoon carving? What? It comes in two sizes?
From the October 2017 issue, #234