Carving a spoon a day for a year or a daily spoon

What an amazing idea but before you ask no I am not about to do a daily spoon. This blog post is a comment on a spooncarving project that is getting a lot of coverage in the mainstream media and an attempt to fill in some background and credit the source of the idea.

STIAN KORNTVED RUUD is a young designer from Oslo Norway and having carved a spoon a day for almost a year in 9 days time he will carve his 365th spoon.

daily-spoon

These small spoonlike sculptures have captivated the internet and been featured by Wired  DeZeen boing boing Yatzer and many many others. This is his webpage and instagram feed.

75-Daily-Spoon-Stian-Korntved-Ruud-yatzer

It’s all fun and makes a great project to share on social media particularly since he photographs the work well. If it inspires anyone else to pick up a knife and carve a spoon that is great. I feel though that there has been a lack of critical comment on the project that is what I would like to add. Amongst the well established spooncarving community there is a tendency to say “but they are not spoons”. I personally think I would prefer to call many of them “small spoonlike sculptures” since the OE dictionary definition of a spoon is “An implement consisting of a small, shallow, oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring and serving food.”

Now if they were just a collection of small spoonlike sculptures would they be getting the media coverage that they are? No! What is special and brilliant about this project is the IDEA. I would like to view this as a piece of performance art, now as we know in art as in music or any other art form it is the original idea that is important perhaps more than the actual performance or creation of the artwork itself. And here is the problem. The idea is not Stian Korntved Ruud’s it belongs to a rather more humble craftsman by the name of Keith Matthews.

9452421990_09f5d2dfa2_hKeith visited the first international celebration of the carved wooden spoon SPOONFEST in 2012. He was totally inspired and decided to carve a spoon a day for a year. These spoons were shown in the gallery at SPOONFEST in 2013 and widely shared on the internet.cameradump126_zps99a1e03a

Coincidentally Stain Korntved Ruud was an intern in the UK in 2013 at Tom Dixon design studio where he no doubt saw and was inspired by Keith’s idea. Several other’s were in the UK and abroad including Joseph Bloor who repeated the mammoth undertaking in 2014

So to sum up, great to see Keith’s idea inspiring others and getting worldwide publicity for spoon carving, just tinged with a little sadness that the original artist is not being credited with the idea. Oh and if you would like to see one of Keith’s spoons then have a look at 20 of the best wooden spoons in the world where you will see the spoon he carved on day 365.

He published his spoon each day on facebook in a bunch of albums called 365 spoons. I am not sure if these will appear for everyone if I post a link or if you need to be a facebook friend

6 Responses to Carving a spoon a day for a year or a daily spoon

  1. David Blanc April 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    I would call them decorative spoons: spoon-like objects not intended to be used as a real spoon. But Stian Korntved Ruud’s approach and Keith’s are quite different. One shows off his talent as a designer (inventing new shapes, coming up with original variations of a well known object, striving for the art side of things) while Keith, as a craftsman, sounded more like he was on a quest to perfect his carving skills. That might explain the different treatment they received. Keith got coverage among carvers like us, Stian is getting some attention from a more general audience. This just reminds me of people wondering why you sell wooden spoons at that price when you can get some at the supermarket for a few quids, but will marvel in front of an artsy item that’s absolutely unusable (just the opposite of our own perception as spoon carvers).

  2. Philippe Steele April 9, 2015 at 5:24 pm #

    I’m with you Robin, completing such a task is noteworthy to be sure, but I would like to have seen Keith credited with the original idea. Especially as his work is directly related to the Green Woodworking revival. Thanks for the article pointing this out.

  3. Chrissy April 9, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

    I don’t believe the “one a day for a year” idea “belongs” to anyone… people have been doing it with various things for years. Just because Keith was the first to do it with spoons, doesn’t mean he owns the “idea”. Not trying to discredit him, but the idea of doing whatever it is you do (baking/photography/knitting, etc) to produce one product a day for a year has been around for a long time. The idea could have come from anywhere on social media. I would bet that anyone who takes on a project like this saw it somewhere else first… just a thought.

  4. Jason April 12, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    robin,
    Be sure to check out @365spoons on Instagram as well. Josh Nava took up this initiative for the entire 2014 calendar year. It was great to watch his progress, struggles, and triumphs throughout the project. An inspirational story for sure!

  5. Rose April 14, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    Hmmm.

    I think it’s interesting to think about. I was ‘watching’ Stian Korntved Ruud via Instagram for awhile and finally removed myself from his followers. For me the perfect shots and the constant spoon wasn’t why I like Instagram. Unfollowing him came in tandem with a general shift in my use of the App. I now only follow people I know, or artists that not only show their work, but share an intimate part of themselves in the process. I like to see their messy studios, their pictures of their dogs, a lovely sunset.

    Stian doesn’t really seem to post those things, and I quickly grew tired of his story because of it.

    Still, while interesting to see your reaction and hear more about Keith, I wonder if Stian should be shamed for neglecting to mention him. Posting a work of art a day doesn’t really seem like a new or proprietary concept to me. Even if Keith’s work inspired Stian I’m not sure that it’s really BAD that he didn’t mention it. Artists always find inspiration from their world, and sometimes they’re not even consciously aware of where they got that inspiration.

    It reminds me of your older post about people copying your Kuska’s, and that specific instance DOES feel wrong to me. Taking your shape that you worked hard on and just churning them out without acknowledgement feels cheap.

    This seems different to me. Still, it’s interesting to hear your point of view. You’re a well respected and ‘spoon famous’ person, and your opinion and story has weight. And telling each of our sides is always important to the big picture.

    Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing as always Robin.

    -Rose

  6. daniel October 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    yeah…it’s kinda weird this guy hasn’t constantly preached and praised the man whom he is copying. The specific idea itself isn’t that wild. if you have experience in spoon carving you can do this easily..it’s a freaking gimick at this point. and if you were going to make a copy gimick you should at least break the record, double or triple it. 365 spoons is nothing. and it looks like he’s sanding. this guy is a dandy.