some of the wood we had gathered, I had planned to add notes about what each species was good for but ran out of time. We had over a dozen species of wood ranging from lime and horse chestnut to hornbeam, field maple and cherry. I was a bit disappointed nobody made a spoon from my banana palm, I also have a load of wonderful sycamore crooks left over.
despite variable weather forecasts we stayed dry.
I loved the entrance arch made for us by Jan Harm and his son Dirk Jan
My mate Dan was on first aid duty all weekend and thankfully the first aid station was little used. I did spot one lady with a bandaged finger and when quizzed she told me she had cut it with an axe and stitched it up herself. She was a doctor in A and E though.
We had laid on 10 workshops for the Saturday with some top instructors, these could not be pre booked to save on admin instead you had to queue on the day. Demand blew us away and we quickly added another 10 workshops to try to cope. Sunday morning people came prepared and the queue was pretty big by 8.15am for workshops going on sale at 9am. This time folk brought chairs, spoons and tools and the whole thing was incredibly good natured. I’d like to appologise to anyone who missed out on workshops they particularly wanted to do. Another change we made on the hoof was to add more free demonstrations by our top instructors so that more people could get a taste of what they were offering.
workshops in full swing again.
The weekend ended with a special collaborative carving event. Fritiof had done this in his 3 day course the week before and we loved the idea but would it work with nearly 90 carvers? did we have enough tools between us? SPOON CLUB kicked off at 3pm, we all started with an axe a knife and hook knife, a chopping block and a billet of wood, after a countdown 87 axes were chipping away simultaneously, what a great sound.
After 5 minutes you passed your spoon to your left, received a new one from your right and set to work on that. As time went on axes gave way to knives and there was a mixture of concentration and laughter.
The great thing with spoon club was that you ended up working on lots of spoons that were very different to your usual style, a good way to broaden your horizons. It also worked surprisingly well with total beginners working alongside more skilled folk.
After passing our spoons 11 times time was nearly up.
I was to the left of Barn so had quite an easy job to do though I did try to wind him up by removing a few of his trademark features as the spoons went on their way.
Here is Fritiof working away I want a pair of trousers like those.
Nearly there and the deal was that when we finished you got to take home the spoon you ended up with.
and here we all are with our finished spoons.
The event was designed to be fun and inspirational, we also wanted a spirit of free sharing without ego and this I think ran throughout the weekend. I was blown away by the kindness, and thoughtfulness of everyone, there was no moaning when things went wrong folk just mucked in and sorted it out. Our team of volunteers were superb too, hard working and good natured throughout, they made the event. I really liked that the folk on the gate as often as not were sat back in an armchair with a guitar, a friendly welcome. One of the highlights for me was meeting Jogge Sundqvist for the first time, he’s a great guy captivating speaker and talented teacher. He liked my turned work and took a set of plates home to eat from, I have one of his spoons.
If I have a regret about the event it was that Barn and I had been tight on time for preparations and budgets had not allowed us to pay many helpers, this meant we spent the whole weekend working and missed most of the wonderful teachers we had brought together. I missed Jogge’s talk which folk tell me was fantastic and his demo. I would have loved to do Jan Harms carved engraving or scoop class, Steve Tomlin’s “improve your spoons” class, or Terrence’s ergonomics and posture for spooncarvers class……maybe next year. We did have an absolute blast though and it was a joy to see so many folk enjoying and learning together, we will definitely run it again next year. Demand will be high and we are not going to increase ticket numbers much so expect it to sell out quickly, get in early if you want to be there.
The highlight for me was probably spoon club but the evenings after the 7pm tools down curfew were great too, spooncarvers are just really nice people.