When the opportunity arose to have a go at spoon-carving I just knew I had to give it a go! I believe that, in essence, everyone is creative and that most people just haven't had the chance to explore this aspect of themselves enough (it's a pretty common reaction for folk to throw their hands up shouting 'oh no, I don't have a creative bone in my body' whenever someone gets out Pictionary!).
Whereas I, on the other hand, have tried (this being the key word!) lots of arts and crafts over the years. As my husband can attest, I have evidence in my house of (in no particular order) machine embroidery, origami, paper cutting, mosaics, pottery, calligraphy, watercolour, Lino printing, flower pressing, jewellery making, gilding and even candle making! Not forgetting my books on Feng-shui, flower arranging and the dog-eared version of 'You too can make bath bombs!'.
But never spoon carving! This was new and I was full of optimism. So it was that on March 1 my colleague and friend Wendy and I headed out to a most beautiful Perthshire studio, where Louise Forbes stood ready to take us through the steps to produce our very own spoons from blocks of wood.
There were several choices of wood from pale oaks to warmer hued maples. We selected ourselves a block and then it dawned on me that I had absolutely no idea of what kind of spoon I wanted to make. Hadn’t given it a second thought! Fortunately Louise had examples of her work which were gorgeous and got us suitably inspired to grab a cuppa and get marking out our designs.
Once we'd pencilled on the shape, we got given our tools. Don’t be fooled - that little hook is a mighty beast! I had brought a couple of plasters (but Louise had Tweety Pie ones so I pretended I needed hers!) and a few people nicked their fingers early on, adding to the tension. Once you’d scooped out as much as you could, Louise took your block onto her saw to cut away the excess wood, and then you worked your way through a series of ever finer rasps and sandpaper.
This was a dusty process and I marvelled at how Louise deftly worked the saw - its not for the faint-hearted that bit! A stop for some delicious soup and salad gave us time for a wee bit of respite but then it was back to it the graft of rubbing, filing and sanding. Then our newly created spoons were ready for a wipe down and oiling which was an amazing part of the process, as it really brought out the grain and colour, to lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’!
So the finished results from our group were pretty epic (Wendy’s gorgeous creation is second from left and my two little spoons are second and third from the right). Can’t see me investing in a band-saw anytime soon, but I would definitely recommend this as a fun and absorbing activity. Plus it's another 'potential hobby' I can add to my “I’ve tried it” list, that's good enough for me!