Our bank holiday weekend was spent teaching a spoon carving course.
Green woodwork has become a popular hobby in the UK but the most common route people take is chairmaking. In Sweden a much larger variety of greenwood crafts are practiced and most of them are based on skilled use of the knife and axe. In our spooncarving foundation course we concentrate on teaching the skills of axe and knife carving which can be applied to all sorts of crafts.
The course was fully booked with 10 students, some local and some having come from as far as Southampton. They were a really nice bunch of folk who got on well together and made the course a joy. We went through a range of different knife strokes and axe cuts, this is the “sloyd” method of teaching in Sweden. Then once everyone had got the basic skills we started to make things, spatulas at first then serving and cooking spoons.
Most folk are not used to working hard with their hands and need regular breaks to avoid getting tired. We break the routine with a trip up to my workshop to show folk my turning, to demonstrate sharpening tecchnique so that students can keep their knives sharp, then we played with a few projects that are only possible at this time of year, some work with elm bark which peels easily from the tree as the sap rises and making swani whistles out of sycamore sticks. Durimg regular breaks for tea and biscuits we would chat about spoon design.