Pre-fest Courses 2023

Pre-fest course tutors for 2023 are:   Fritiof Runhal, Karel Hekrle, Maryanne McGinn, Maximilian Neukäufler, Oren Hetzroni, & Sean Hellman – scroll down to see details of the courses.

Go to the tickets page to buy tickets for these courses.

Pre-fest tickets do not include attendance to the festival itself, however we do always save some fest tickets for folk who attend pre-fest. So if you miss out on festival tickets but have a pre-fest space, we will make sure you can attend for the whole event. Main fest itself costs £115 – just put yourself on the festival waiting list, and get in touch!

Introduction to the pre-fest courses

Spoonfest is a fantastic sharing of skills and great fun but the workshops are just short taster sessions. If you really want to learn then you need longer.

Since we have some of the best spooncarvers in the world coming we thought we should get them here three days earlier and offer the chance of a longer course. Not only will you have the enjoyment of learning with a small group from a master carver you will also be sharing the Spoonfest site with 4 other courses so we all get to see what the other tutors are up to as well.

Courses cost £275 including all materials. All courses run 2pm-5.30pm on Tues 1st August and 9.30-4.30 on Weds 2nd and Thurs 3rd August. Free camping on site is included, as is a good lunch each day and lots of tea and coffee. The fires will be going in the evenings for folk to cook over or often there’s a large group goes to eat at a local pub.

We have big shared lunchtime meals and can see progress in all the classes, almost 5 classes for the price of one. For the folk who come on these special courses the atmosphere is great.

Pre fest courses are aimed at folk who can already use the basic tools rather than absolute beginners. You will need to bring your own tools for your class.

Course Tutors

Fritiof Runhal

Spoons from crooks: eaters, ladles and big hooks.
This is what the long tradition looks like in Sweden when looking at carved spoons.
In many museums around the country in fact there is no such thing as a wood´n spoon made from straight grain. This and the fact most spoons where homemade give us a beautiful and rich diversity of spoons. These spoons were my very first inspiration when I started carving some spoons 27 years ago. And still for me the best spoon carvings starts with some sort of crooked wood, and I think they make the most beautiful spoons.

We will work with al type of crooked and bent grown wood to make really nice eaters or/and ladles and scoops. 
Of course there will be high focus on sharp edges and useful techniques, both with axe and knives.

I´ve held lots of carving workshops throughout the years and it´s always inspiring to pass this skills to new people.
Welcome to my crooked workshop in spoon carving.

Karel Hekrle

 BIG SPOONs! Lets carve a wooden spoon to share! Together we are going to carve some crooks into a great serving spoon, large ladle or a big dipper. On the way, axing out a well sized blank and shaping it into a fine big spoon with a natural design handle, you will learn how to efectively use your axe for bigger carving projects, make a fast progress with an adze and finish the big spoon bowl with various knives. I will show and teach some special handy/safe grips too and may give some good tips for your wood carving progress or future projects. It is a good idea to join this course only if you have some at least basic skills in spooncarving. 

My spoon carving journey began with the first Spoonfest years ago. It was, and i believe still is, a lifechanging event for all. Each festival I learned from many experienced people in the community bits and pieces of greenwoodcraft know-how. Now, when I started to understand a bit what is the “slöyd” about my way, it is perhaps time to share the experience with others. And what a great opportunity and honor for me to do that teaching at the Spoonfest 2023! Greenwoodcarving is, learned well through the practise, something that gives us the freedom to create beautiful and very useful things for our everyday life from just a piece of branch or some other often reclaimed part of a tree – SPOONS I like to let simplicity and functionality speak. Following the natural patterns, shapes and grain call for, in short, conscious design in most of the carvings i make. I like to add a decorative or functional details, some natural colours or cooperate with little friends that make a way in the woods just like me. Greenwoodcrafts being nearly a zero-trace and/or human energy powered way to make things play quite some role in the BIG! change of this era of ecology disaster I believe – my inspiration to keep on carving and share the benefits this growing culture offers for free.

instagram | website

Maryanne McGinn

My flirtation with spoon carving began after a career in woodwork, but very soon turned into a true passion after I stumbled across Spoonfest in 2015. I’m happy to have the opportunity to pass on some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

My interests in textiles, gardening and photography inspire the decorations I
add to spoons.

I’ll show you how to add details such as form, texture and colour to your
spoons, using simple tools and milk paint. The emphasis will be on
maintaining aesthetic and ergonomic balance, whilst creating personal and
idiosyncratic pieces through the use of layers of carving and colour.
Please bring your ideas and we’ll make and decorate spoons together.

website | instagram

Oren Hetzroni

Carving has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, filling that urge to create something. I get my inspiration from my surroundings, putting chickens, snails, frogs on my work as little reminders of nature’s beauty. I live on a small farm in the center of Israel where I teach spoon carving classes and trying to spread this rewarding craft.

Ergonomics, elegance, balance and flow are all important aspects of a well designed spoon. We have to master them before adding on any more layers. The class will begin with a step-by-step methodology of spoon carving, finishing this process with the spoon you had planned. Once we’ve mastered this, we will work on designing a sculpture to adorn the spoon, considering the grain orientation, strength and 3D form

instagram | facebook

Maximilian Neukäufler

Triple – C Spooncarving and Advanced Design

Being fascinated about blades and exotic cultures, I originally got into Spooncarving because I wanted to use the tools I had collected by my early 20s.

Traveling to all corners of the world to study martial arts, forge and do backcountry guiding, I started to pick up overlapping principles, both mental and physical. 

I made it my mission statement to integrate them, to form a save, bold, learning oriented system that allows anybody to let their creativity flow without limits. 

On the practical side of things I got to make and design some of the more popular tools on the market based on my goal to teach every student to get to know their tools intimately and use them to their full potential. 

I teach Spooncarving like I teach grappling, canoeing or archery. 

Systematic, principle based, bold, physical and with a steep, continuing learning curve. 

I’m stoked to be able to share over a dozen years of worldwide Spooncarving with you!

website | instagram | facebook | youtube

Sean Hellman

Learn sharpening by grinding and honing two knife-blade blanks. You can also bring tools to renovate and resharpen. These do not have to be knives.
You will have access to professional grinders and a range of equipment to try out and sharpen with.
Participants will be able to buy Sharp for a discounted price of 40% off.

The two heat-treated blades that you will be provided with: one is Sean’s small, signature, whittling knife blade, and the other is a Wharncliffe chip-carving blade. You will grind, hone and polish these blades using electrical equipment, and various bench stones. You can either make your own handle for these blades, or use the blank provided.

The grinding and polishing equipment available, will provide a wide range of water, oil, diamond, and natural bench stones and abrasives films. We will cover the pros and cons of all these abrasives, and find the right fit for your tools’ requirements.
Many sharpening techniques will be taught, as well the most important aspects of sharpening: observation, alongside an understanding of Edge Geometry in general, and concerning specific tools. We will use a microscope to highlight both good and bad techniques.

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