Monthly Archives: August 2014

Wooden Spoons

Over the past couple of months I have spent many happy Tuesday nights at the Strathcona Park field-house with Artist in Residence, David Gowman, for a casual evening of spoon carving. Initially billed as a pipe-carving workshop, it has evolved into a friendly free-for-all where attendees work on projects of their choosing, loosely based on shaping wood.


Strathcona Park Field-house

I started working on spoons after the second week, and since then have been making one just about every week. I’ve carved before, but this was the first time using green-wood, which David explained is much easier to work with, provided you keep the end-grain sealed and store it in a plastic bag to avoid rapid drying, resulting in the wood checking.


We have collected a multitude of branches, including David’s favorite for horn-making, the Paulownia tomentosa (Empress tree), from a specimen he pollarded in the nearby Cottonwood Garden, and hazel from the same location. I’ve taken to carrying a small folding pruning saw with me in the event I come across a fallen tree. So far I have made spoons from Yellow Cedar, Paulownia, Hazel, Lilac, Apple and Alder.

Yellow Cedar spoon

Yellow Cedar spoon


Alder spoon

David is very generous in loaning tools from his carving collection, including some hand-made hook knives. Recently, blacksmith Lorn Gray has been attending and has brought a portable gas powered forge and he and David have been walking me through the process of tool making. Pounding an anvil is great therapy, plus you get to wear a leather apron. I am working on a small adze blade as well as a hook knife. Hopefully, more ambitious wood projects to come.


With Lorne Gray. Photo by Alexis Greenwood


Photo by Sharon Kallis