On a bright crisp cold day in February we ran our first spoon carving course here at Ruskin Land. The course proved instantly popular and was fully booked with participants coming from Bewdley and the neighbouring towns. The are of spoon carving ahs been a growing phenomenon in Britain over the past few years with many people gaining great pleasure from its absorbing peacefulness and instant accessibility. All that is needed is a piece of wood, some simple hand tools and some time.
We began the day teaching the participants basic knife grips using scrap peices of wood. Learning the efficient and safe use of the tools greatly improves technique and proves for a more satisfying experience and better end result. Different knife grips provide different services. Some are great at removing large amounts of wood in an efficient manner whilst others are very good for making controlled cuts, all of which are needed to make a spoon. With a grounding in good technique the partcipants will be able to continually apply this knowledge to their future spoons.
We then moved on to how to split wood and talked about grain and how this affects the carving of the spoon. Participants split their own billet and we the demonstrated how to use the axe. Everyone was surprised how much of the carving was done with an axe, with most participants having only used one to chop kindling before. An axe can also be used to form a round piece of timber into a spoon blank ready to be carved with a knife.
After lunch everyone was ready to start back with the knife, utilising the grips they had learned in the morning. Tuition was given along the way to help each participant with any queries or extra carving tips. In the afternoon there were some long periods of peaceful silence where everyone was completely absorbed in carving their own spoon, Bliss.
By the end of the day all participants had carved themselves both a functional and beautiful cooking spoon and had a great experience along the way.