I came to spoon making through woodcarving, which has profoundly influenced the process. As a beginning carver, when it was suggested that I might like spoon carving, my unspoken response was “why would anyone carve spoons when there are so many other things that can be carved?” Then I made one. The process of making a spoon is very tactile. To make a good one, it is necessary that you hold it, run your fingers over it to feel the curve of the bowl and its thickness, and to feel how it fits in the hand. Sometimes, for the carver, it seems necessary to go to some else and say “hold this spoon and see how it feels!” I have been making spoons ever since!
As a carver, I started showing decorative spoons at carving shows, where the object was to present a beautiful spoon that gave aesthetic pleasure, even though the spoon itself would be purely decorative. Now that I am making functional spoons and related items that will actually be used in the kitchen, that emphasis on being beautiful remains a high priority. No one ever said a spoon has to be ugly just because it’s a tool. The second priority is that it fits nicely into the hand and “flows” with the user. One of my great pleasures is the reaction of someone who picks up one of my spoons and says “Oh, wow!” Let me introduce you to a world of “oh, wow” spoons.
I use primarily seven different woods: hard maple, tiger maple and Birdseye maple, American cherry, Brazilian cherry, satine, a red South American wood, sapele, a very hard African relative of mahogany that makes great and beautiful pancake flippers. The spoons are available in all types, although it will be necessary to special order spoons in hard maple, and pie servers and pancake flippers are not available in satine or Birdseye maple, since it is difficult to get the wood in the right thicknesses for those items. I also use American black walnut for carving some of the shelf mice.
The mice, walking staffs and tree spirits are all carved with a knife and palm gouges. The relief carvings, such as the eagle and the green men, are done using full size carving gouges. The spoons require that I use power carving tools, because it’s faster (though less fun!), and I need a lot of them!