52 Spoons: Spoon #2

I’ve always found the Swedish spoon to be a beautiful form, and to me, it’s shown in it’s best light as an eating spoon. Spoon #2 might have been my first real attempt at an eating spoon. The trouble with eating spoons is that like anything your make, they have to look right, but more importantly, they have to feel right to both the hand and the mouth. The mouth feel the most important part of the equation. If a spoon isn’t comfortable to use it is destined for a life on in a drawer.

This spoon turned out ok, an up until this point, it was my best effort. It irritates me that I fell into a cliche beginners trap. Everyone says that beginners always make spoon bowls too deep. I have heard it many times and always said, “oh no, not me. I won’t do that” and I did it.  I was conscience about it too while carving. Oh well, I’ll get it right on the next one*.

That’s one of the best things about spoon carving. It’s rare that you have more that a couple of hours into a spoon, so it is easy to experiment. There is little fear of ruining a spoon, because you know that you could get back there again. Mike Pekovich often says that he is envious of ceramicists because they can make many pieces in a day, giving them the ability to explore with less consequence. Furniture makers can have weeks if not months into a piece, so you are conscience of that time and work when weighing risks. 

The decorative carving on this spoon was inevitable. While this spoon was waiting on it’s final embellishment I went on a work trip. As part of that trip, I spent a couple of days hanging out with–and pointing a camera at–Danielle Rose Byrd. Danielle is one of my favorite artists working in wood. Her carving is very geometric and fun. The handle carving on this spoon is a poor excuse at copying her style. 

2 down, 50 to go

*I didn’t


Wood: Autumn Olive
Tools: Mora 106, Robin Wood compound curve hook knife, Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Spoon #1: The origin story

It all happened very quickly. The fire was roaring in the living room as my son was playing with cars on the couch, my wife weaving, and I, of course, was happily carving a spoon. A few days earlier I had decided that I needed to be braver about sourcing wood for spoon carving. In doing so, I noticed a tree that looked like it had a lot of spoons in it by the shop at work. A friend came over and identified it as an autumn olive. There wasn’t a whole lot to be found about autumn olive, other than it is considered a weed in the area, and for all intents and purposes, you shouldn’t hesitate to cut one down. Jackpot! I finally had a good source of wood for carving–there was much rejoicing.

In my excitement over a supply of wood, and probably, do to the absolute adrenaline rush that comes from carving truly wet wood, I decided that I need to get good at this. But how? 

I have found that a shortcut to learning a worthy skill is as elusive as a tasteful drum solo*. I knew I had to put time into this effort. I knew it would require diligence. Then it hit me. Like many of my working revelations, I would steal from Matt Kenney! Not that long ago, Matt set out to make 52 boxes in 52 weeks. To some that might not sound difficult, but if you’ve seen the boxes that Matt makes, his designs, and his level of execution–well, it’s from another place. It was a challenge that–I think–wore him down, but took his craft to the next level. 

My challenge was similar, but entirely different. My challenge would be skills based. At my current level, there isn’t a whole lot of designing that goes into a spoon. Usually I’m just trying to make a dang spoon. That’s enough! This was going to hone my skills, all of them. Wood procurement and selection, axe work, knife work, sharpening, and lets be honest, time management were all skills that this challenge would stretch.

What you see here, is what I made after deciding I would set forth on this challenge, followed by the equivalent of nailing a papyrus to a door, posting my intents on Instagram. This is not my first spoon. More like my eighth or ninth–of which probably four wound up in the fireplace. But, for this challenge, this one is the origin.

We’ll see how the other 51 go!

*I once witnessed Greg Morrow, straight up refuse a drum solo… that’s the pinnacle of drum solos

Wood: Autumn Olive
Tools: Mora 106, Robin Wood compound curve hook knife, Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

The Music Behind Lost Art Press’ ‘Virtuoso’ DVD

This is a post originally found here on the Lost Art Press blog.

Shortly after I started editing the video “Virtuoso” I began to dream up a soundtrack. About the only specific request Lost Art Press gave me was that they wanted the music to be piano based. H.O. Studley spent his working life as a piano and organ maker so it was only fitting that the music pay homage to his work. Considering Studley made pianos in the early 20th century it seemed obvious that I could put any ole Scott Joplin track in and it’d work. The only problem was that it didn’t work. Continue reading “The Music Behind Lost Art Press’ ‘Virtuoso’ DVD”

The Making of the ‘Virtuoso’ DVD

This is a post originally found here on the Lost Art Press blog.

Chris asked me to write a couple blog posts to give you a little insight into what went in to compiling the DVD companion to Don Williams’s amazing book “Virtuoso.” In addition to that I’ve been given the unpleasant task of introducing myself and giving a little background while trying not to sound like a salesman with my resume. Continue reading “The Making of the ‘Virtuoso’ DVD”