In the past few years the desire for natural handmade products has somewhat come back into fashion. This is due to people becoming more conscious of the world around them as well as wanting to support local people making local products. This has spurred on many independent arts and crafts markets coming back into the limelight and artisan products being favoured over larger brands. More and more people are trying out new crafts for themselves, probably due to the great satisfaction in making something from beginning to end and finishing with their own personal hand made product.
In the outdoor world one of these crafts is woodwork, which has been growing in popularity. The natural tones of the wood complementing many interior designs, while also making great products to use in the great outdoors.
We were able to bag a place on a spoon carving course in Bristol, which used both knife and axe carving techniques to produce the spoons.
The spoon carving course that we attended was located at the Bristol Folk House – which is an adult only learning centre in the middle of Bristol. It was a group of 8 people, which made for a quiet and relaxing environment, with teaching being much easier as you were able to have more one on one time if you had any questions.
Each of us were given two different types of knife (straight wood carving knife, hook knife) and also an axe that had been ground especially for wood carving. We were taught about what the different tools and how each was used for the correct technique (so you don’t cut your fingers off!). Be prepared to ache after this session and the next day as with anything you are using muscles in your hands and arms that you may not always use!
Will explained the different types of wood used in what is known as Green wood carving. This means that the wood is always fresh and holds a lot of moisture, which makes for easier carving. The wood that we used was fresh Cherry wood that Will had chopped a few days prior.
Overall this was a great day of learning and Will our tutor was very informative and great a teaching us from the beginning. We learnt various techniques that are easy to pick up but of course will take a lot longer to master. It was a 6 hour long course and it was so refreshing to be able to take time away from the screen. Concentrating on your own piece of art was very calming and we were able to gain a lot of focus. I even bought myself a straight knife so I could continue with my spoon the next day, which was just great fun and I am determined to continue and practice so I can improve with every new product that I make.
This was a great introduction to this craft and both myself and Nick agee that even if the finished product isn’t perfect, it doesn’t need to be, as that is the beauty of hand made items. We had made something that was a useable tool, which is extremely satisfying and I will be using my spoon proudly on my next camping trip.
We look forward to seeing Will again in the future for many of his other courses (especially bowl turning!) and would love to experience doing one of these courses out in the beauty of the forest.
For more information on Will and his other classes please check out his website.
For more information on Bristol Folk House and the course they run please see their website but be quick as places for courses run out fast!