|Project by jjw5858||posted 02-17-2014 08:17 PM||1583 views||4 times favorited||8 comments|
This past Sunday was cold, a short amount of snow remained and I thought it was a good time to gather some tools and seek out some wood to carve a new spoon.
For me spoon carving is all about the hunt for that special piece of timber. Sometimes you get it back to your shop, split it by your carving log and strike gold, and sometimes you crap out. The good, is a straight grained piece of timber that eases into a crook to make the curvature a natural shape for the spoon. The bad, is a worm holed twisted bitchy grain of a challenge. Well, I seemed to get a little more of the latter.
Ahhh, that’s ok I love challenges, you learn more this way. None of this work would mean as much if it was like a prepared television program with each part coming together in a perfect concert of moves. This will be a real world carving piece requiring skills on the fly and patience. That is not always an easy mindset to pull together, but I feel like giving it a try.
I recall in my mind an old illustration trick when I dabbled in the world of drawing comic book characters years back. The trick was to draw two lines and just run them apart from each other at any given distance and curve them a bit if you like. Then…make a comic book action hero fit in between those two lines in whatever pose the lines allowed for. Basically this is a lesson of make it work with what you have.
This piece of split Cherry timber strikes that memory of a useful lesson within me while looking at it now. Sometimes you are going to get a split that will twist and it is up to the carver wether to make it fuel or sculptor.
I always feel while at my carvers log while carving the shapes, that somehow in my little way, I am making a statement of what a worried world can turn too when it needs a little help slowing it’s wheels down. The simplistic bliss of the obvious, a hatchet, knife and a piece of a tree. Each shaving I begin to create a possible new story that I can share with others. I also think that may be more important than just doing this for my own joy. I think people need to have a reminder of the beauty around us, and see ways to engage in it’s presence.
I suppose the ultimate attraction to this work is that it just feels so honest, so innocent of anything more than enjoying what grows up from the floor of our earth. You sit by yourself for awhile and you hear the birds, the deer and squirrels setting about their plans along the distant woods. You see the shapes change as your blade angles the path and all the while you smell the specific timber as you carve. I think there is something wonderful going on, something basic that carries such a complicated wooden riddle to master as your fingers blister a bit. I never seem to walk away and keep my distance from the quest of trying it again no matter how the weeks or even months pass me by. Give it a try, those trees have a way of grabbing at you with their strength, beauty and color.
This activity is a symbol of being human, it’s a primal revival of the best kind. You will find as you progress that in just one small reduction of wood the shape changes, and the entire goal is to remove everything on your blank that the spoon does not need. The more weight gets reduced you feel the balance, and fragility of the work. It is a real tightrope walk to master the final reductions so you can have a respectable user.
One of the greatest feelings with this chosen craft is the knowledge that every time we carve a spoon we are keeping a long tradition of master crafts people alive. Each new idea or attempt is something to reach others and share with them the lessons and stories of the past so we may have a strong present of spoon carvers.
Of course with some study and practice many will improve with great skill. The most important thing is to never feel that your bigger or better than that tree in the woods. Getting too competitive in our accomplishments only reduces the respect for the very timbers we hew. I think that is the correct spirit in keeping this traditional craft alive and well.
So after all of the shavings have been made I carved this Cherry serving spoon. It measures about 10.25 inches long, with the bowl a little over 2 inches in width.
I thank you for taking the time to read and look at it!
Be well and keep creating friends,
-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW