Spoonfest has everything that any spoon carver could ever desire: masses of green wood, lots of sharp tools to try out for free, the best carvers in the world doing free demonstrations and paid workshops, campfires, the spoon gallery full of inspiration, Spoonshop for spoons, tools and T shirts, camping on site, local beer sold for charity, a wood fired pizza oven, all this with a wonderful festival atmosphere in the heart of the Peak District countryside.
The Spoonfest line-up is getting too numerous to list but here’s a brief intro to many of the spoon carvers you’ll find sharing their skills with you this year.
Alex is a full-time green woodworker and photographer, carving spoons and kitchenalia while teaching globally. Teaching his Kuksa carving process, but on a smaller scale, Alex will help you learn new techniques, think laterally, and hone your efficiency in axe and knife work.
‘Photographing Your Craft’ returns, to explore the dance between light and shadow. Great for those who sell their work, or anyone wishing to present their work more potently. A clinic, open discussion, and a walking classroom. Alex will demo his highly skillful Kuksa carving approach, while sharing thoughts on “Spoon Medicine”, the therapeutic aspects of carving.
One of our favourite fun instructors returns to teach a pretest course this year. It is easy to get stuck in a rut making spoons that are similar to those you made before. Taking a course with Anja will open up so many new possibilities particularly in the fun use of colour. She is the most humble but the most wonderful playful woodworker. Everything she touches seems to turn into a magical new world full of possibilities. As well as her Prefest course, Anja will be teaching chip carving decoration and butter spreaders.
Anna has been involved in craft all her life, growing up as the daughter of two potters and with a master woodcarver grandfather. She carves beautiful and functional spoons and scoops from timber sourced sustainably from her native Gloucestershire.
“Like my parents, I take great delight in making beautiful objects that people love and use every day.”
Anna’s ever popular axe carving workshops will make a return this year, both for the beginner and for those with more experience seeking to up their skills & efficiency!
I’ve been hooked on green woodworking since 2011 when I first became enthralled by the possibilities of working with raw wood to create humble functional objects. I’ve gained a huge amount from attending every Spoonfest since it’s inception, and am excited to be able to share my knowledge with others.
Dan’s Fine Art background has resulted in a creative and playful exploration of woodcarving with a unique style.
A full time spoon carver/ greenwood worker since 2014 has enabled a fascination with ergonomics, form and function to play a big roll.
Musician’s learn covers for an understanding of techniques and styles, with a similar approach to spoons, making copy’s and mimics of other makers spoons enabled me to discoverer in 3 dimensions my like’s and dislike’s about a variety of spoons.
Dan will run the ‘Mimic a spoon’ again along with ‘How to take you axing further’.
Dave Cockcroft is a chair maker, spoon carver and teacher who’s been making spoons since encountering Barn in the woods in 2010. Dave’s workshops will focus improving the quality of your finishing cuts and on the design and shape of spoon handles. Making handles fit for task that are also pleasing to hold, look at and ready for painting or other decoration.
Dave will also likely be doing a demo or two on milkpaint and my two layered painted finishes, which work best on top of well carved handles and well finished facets.
Fritiof Runhall was perhaps the inspiration for Spoonfest starting. Back in 2011 he came to teach a course in Edale, most of the UK’s best carvers at the time came on his course and we all thoroughly enjoyed being students together, learning and sharing. Fritiof has a unique manner of sharing his joy of carving, his courses are less structured than some, there is freedom for self expression, play, life philosophy. Amongst it all you seem to come away with a vast amount of new knowledge and inspiration. And he is still in our opinion the best spoon carver in the world.
Harry Samuel is a full time wood worker and passionate about working specifically with green wood. He trained with Barnaby Carder and continues to work with The Green Wood Guild in Bristol. He also completed a year-long apprenticeship at Cherry Wood Project. He now operates from his workshop in Frome where he makes products to order, teaches workshops around the UK and continues to develop his craft.
Harry’s knife & axe workshops for kids have become a key feature of the course programme and will make a return this year, perhaps along with some beginner’s knife workshops for adults.
I’m a spoon caver who seems to spend most of my time at the moment farming but when I can I make spoons, ladles mostly, all shapes and sizes out of bent crooks and straight wood.
I plan on sharing some tips on making larger spoons like how to rough out a large blank quickly, a look at using adzes and some thoughts on design.
Jan Harm Ter Brugge
Jan Harm is a spooncarver and product designer/teacher from the Netherlands. He picked up spoon carving as a design activity in 2004, looking for a simple and direct approach to design humble products that matter for people, both in a visual- and ergonomical aspect.
Being a student in one of Wille Sundqvist’s last workshops in Sweden influenced his style and view about spoons and teaching.
At this year’s Spoonfest Jan Harm will be teaching his way of carving ‘Kåsor’ (‘Kuksa’s’) by making ‘minimugs’, as well as eating spoon anatomy with axe and knife, and probably little scoops! He’s also planning a lecture on ‘Spoon Aesthetics & Visual Vocabulary’.
Zen and the Art of Axe Work:
Not confident with an axe? Come and learn how to enjoy axing-out your spoon blanks. How to use your axe safely, effectively and without getting exhausted. We will consider posture, grip, safety and technique – we might even get a blank made!
Introduction to Traditional Breton Spoon Decoration:
Jane will be demonstrating techniques of chip carving & also of coloured wax inlay, traditionally used on Breton spoons.
Jane will also be presenting an illustrated talk about old Breton decorated spoons
My woodworking career began in 1995, where I got the opportunity to work with Wille Sundqvist in his workshop for 4 months. This experience changed my life.
After that, I have tried to master many other kinds of woodworking skills, but spoons, I will always do. I make them with respect for what Wille thought me, and I always carve a name there. My first education was sign writing, and this helps me in doing so.
I’ll introduce letter carving, the tools used for this and the importance of sharpening them. We can also talk about designing your own signatures or maker’s marks.
Lieuwe Jongsma, who lives in Groningen in the Netherlands, has always had a love for traditional crafts and nature. In carving spoons the two came together. The sense of empowerment that came from turning a branch into a spoon was addictive. Just a few knives, a hatchet and a quiet afternoon, that’s all that’s needed.
He’s taught spoon carving at workshops and in high schools for the past couple of years, and has also taught at spoon carving festivals in France and the Netherlands. Lieuwe will be teaching workshops focusing on how to use your wood as efficiently as possible.
Martin Hazell is a Londoner by birth, a Californian by upbringing and a spoon carver by accident. He made his first spoon in 1996 and has gone on to specialise in Scoops and kuksas, especially carved from Burr.
Martin will be teaching knife skills, scoop making from burrs, and a demonstration session on ‘beads and cordage’.
Spoon carving for me is a window into the life I want to live and seems like the life most people would like to have, and over the past decade i have explored the functional art of carving spoons and lately I have been introduced into the world of pole lathe turning.
I have been teaching for about three years and now i teach full time in the Center for Woodland Craft, Tzivon Israel. I love teaching and having the opportunity to ignite the spark of craft among beginners- people who have yet to discover the magic of fresh wood and sharp tools.
I will be teaching mostly beginner classes and maybe a class on asymmetry and cranks.
Owen is a full time green woodworker and teaches clients with learning difficulties in Hereford, alongside his own work carving spoons and turning bowls on a pole lathe. He was the first apprentice to Barnaby Carder at 260 Hackney Road, London and it was there he began developing his designs based on traditional welsh and English spoons .
Owen will be teaching his ever popular workshops on carving welsh Cawl spoons and Dolphin spoons and demonstrating how to use a Twca Cam spoon knife.
Paul was introduced to spoon carving during a course studying bushcraft in 2004. Due to the ease of carving at home while raising a young family, spoon carving was one of the skills regularly practised. Working in Arboriculture for twenty years has led to many interesting pieces of wood being saved, brought home, and carved into all sorts of objects for the home and outdoors life he enjoys.
This year Paul will be teaching workshops on making Birch leaf scoops, eating spoons, and safe knife & axe use.
“Do you struggle with sharpening? I certainly did. I wished that someone had taught me from the beginning with sharpening theory, for example: what bevel angles are, and then how to achieve the correct angle for the tool being sharpened. I got snippets of well-intended advice but it was often contradictory and never shown with a practical hands-on demonstration. Decades later having experienced sharpening possibly all types of edge-cutting tools, and from teaching sharpening to edge-tool users, I have honed my skills and can explain the theory of sharpening and how to sharpen well.”
Tom got started in green woodwork 5 years ago as an apprentice with Barn the Spoon. Moving away from a career in video production he went in search of more beauty & meaning in his work. After helping to establish The Green Wood Guild in London, Tom became focused on sharing his love of craft and traditional wood culture with others. As a full-time instructor, he teaches workshops in all aspects of woodcraft, including weekly spoon carving membership nights, and produces instructional films with Barn – helping people all over the world to get into spoon carving.
At Spoonfest this year Tom will be teaching workshops on beginner’s knife skills, and taking the next steps with your axe work.
“I have been introduced to spoon carving and greenwood working almost 7 years ago while visiting friends in the UK, and got inspired to take it to the next step and my full day occupation after attending Spoonfest 2014 . Having been working as a full time maker and instructor for the past 3 years, between craftsmen I met along the way in order to improve my skills and eye for details & live closer to the trees and nature.
This year I will be teaching a class aimed at helping people overcome the tricky aspects of carving an eating spoon and talking about pleasing lines and aesthetics.”
Workshops cost £10 each paid direct to the tutor and can not be booked in advance. They have to be booked when SPOONSHOP opens in the morning which means if you desperately want to do a particular workshop you need to get in the queue early.
On the Friday there will be lots of beginners classes focussing on the techniques of using axes and knives and discussions about timber. On Saturday and Sunday there will be more intermediate and advanced classes. Most workshops will be repeated Saturday and Sunday so if you miss out Saturday you get a second chance to book early Sunday.