Hi Everyone, from cool Autumn days in Australia that make it worth putting up with the dreadful heat of summer.
How are you all? I keep finding myself sitting on my deck, surrounded by the rainforest, staring at this spoon. Not just staring: stroking, smelling, turning and touching.
Is it a magic spoon you ask? Well yes, in some ways it is.
Because I carved it, from White Beech.
OK, so for some of you ‘handy/crafty’ folks, this may not seem like a big deal. Or for those of you who know that spoon-carving is a bit of a ‘hipster’ fad at the moment, perhaps you’re rolling your eyes?
But I don’t care. Because I’m the girl who hated sewing at school; who wasn’t allowed to do woodwork classes (because of being a girl), and who has spent 5 decades baulking at using tools/drills/saws because of an assumed ‘hopelessness’ with them.
How did this change happen? It was my darling cousin’s idea:
“Try this workshop with me G, it will be fun, and a bonding experience- only $140.“
It has literally changed my life.
I was fast hooked, because our teacher Sophie was kind, fun, patient, positive, and very knowledgeable. She teaches complete beginners all the time, so knows exactly how to make nervous carvers feel at home.
It soon became a meditation practice: gouging out the bowl with chisel at the exact angle to peel the wood like firm butter.
Slowly but surely, I persevered at home alone. I ordered tools online, and of course COVID restrictions meant that staying in, carving quietly, was a great entertainment option.
My Instagram feed quickly filled with spoony images, and there are a million clips to watch on YouTube if you’re addicted.
But one thing intrigued me: the wooden spiral.
How does it happen??
By now, I’d carved 4 or 5 spoons, cautiously following the wood’s whisper to reveal its shape.
I sent a Red Cedar one to my dear friend in Adelaide, and spent many hours dealing with a very hard (well-named) Iron Bark spoon for my new love, to mark our 6 months of dating… soaking it in water to make it soften, then blunting all my tools as I tried to shape it.
It reminded me of the new relationship: we slowly explore, finding the knots in ourselves and the other, forming a new bond or shape. It can be hard work, and of course, utterly joyful along the way. And full of imperfections 🙂
But back to my spiral obsession… my teacher offered another class, on ‘advanced carving’, and I dared myself to go. I was so excited, and my delight was well-founded, because in only 5 hours, I made this:
It’s White Beech, easy to carve. There were 5 students including me, and every spoon spiral looked so different. I brought it home to spend more hours working on it; slipping sometimes, nearly cutting myself; learning how to sharpen my knife (a whole other world of learning!), and most importantly, RE-WIRING MY BRAIN.
The 55-yr old brain who thought she was no good with tools.
Who thought she wasn’t practical enough, or creative enough.
Who thought she would make too many mistakes, or cut herself.
Who thought it would just be too hard for her.
Who thought it was simply a gift she didn’t have, and couldn’t learn.
Everyone I’ve showed it to, including my son and his cool friends, have marvelled at it. And I’m still delighting in that.
As I was carving, I realised it was the perfect gift for my soulmate sister who is turning 50 this year, so I posted it last week (I really hope she’s too busy to read my blog this month!)
What have you wanted to try but didn’t dare? What secret crafty skill beckons you?
Please please do it, and blog about it- let us delight with you.
In huge gratitude for good teachers, courage, and sharp knives, G xO